They said it: Leaders at the UN, in their own words

The Associated Press
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United Nations General Assembly Slovakia

Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Lots of leaders saying lots of things about lots of topics — topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world.

That's what the speechmaking at the U.N. General Assembly invariably produces each year. And each year, certain enormous topics and certain louder voices dominate.

Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts you might not have heard — the voices of leaders speaking at the United Nations who might not have captured the headlines and the airtime on Tuesday, the first day of 2019 debate.


"It seems that our youth understands the urgency better than us."

— Zuzana Caputova, president of Slovakia, on climate change


"Nobody is an island, and nobody can, alone or with a handful of allies, address the increasingly complex problems affecting everybody."

— Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of Portugal


"We need the United Nations because the problems of our times are extraordinary."

— Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, president of the Maldives


"The 2020s could be remembered in history as a turning point, or as the moment when multilateralism lost its way."

— Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda


"When we feel we are being observed, we often adjust our behavior and speech. The potential risk to independence of our thought and action will only grow in the coming years, given the rapid development of artificial intelligence."

— Egils Levits, president of Latvia