Weah Mounts 77th UNGA Podium Today -Delivers 5th Address on Range of National, Global Issues

Once again, as is often the case between September each year, the famous General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly is here to provide “the opportunity for Heads of State and Government to come together at the UN Headquarters and discuss world issues” and Liberia’s President, George Manneh Weah, is participating. As the UN Secretary General summed the intensity of the debate vis-à-vis current world order, “Our world is in big trouble. Divides are growing deeper. Inequalities are growing wider. Challenges are spreading farther.” World leaders gathering will share their perspectives on how each sees the situation as described by the US SG. What is the perspective of Liberia’s George Weah in all this? The Analyst peeped into the President’s speech from the lens of an insider, and reports.

President George Manneh Weah today takes to the oratory floor of the United Nations General Assembly Debate in what is described landmark speech ever delivered since he first attended in 2018.

The President’s address is expected to take place between 10 am to 10:45 am EST which is 2 pm to 2:45 pm GMT.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is meeting in its 77th session under the theme, “A Watershed Moment – Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges”.

The General Debate is a part of the High-level week of the General Assembly and presents an opportunity for world leaders to come together yearly to discuss critical global issues.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is the main policy-making organ of the Organization, comprising all Member States, and it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations.

The first time President Weah mounted the UNGA podium was September 2018, less than ten months in leadership.

This year’s address is the first-to-the-last of his appearance at this revered General Assembly, the last one during his six year term being next year when election fevers will have engulfed Liberia.

Announcing his appearance today, the Executive Mansion intimated that President Weah will be speaking “on a range of pertinent national and global issues, sharing Liberia’s perspectives and proffering solutions to build sustainability and resilience”.

A presidential insider who would not like to be named in print has hinted The Analyst about some of the global and domestic issues that will be spoken of by the President in his speech today.

The President is expected to brief the world body on the stability of Liberia since he took over the mantle of power—a takeover that nearly coincided with the full exit of the 17,000-strong international stabilization force of the United Nations and countless international development aid organizations.

In spite of the obvious security and economic challenges posed to Liberia and his government by the departure of the international institutions, President will boast of peace, security and development efforts being made by his administration in the last five years.

According to sources close to the presidency, Dr. Weah will also brief the UNGA about national security and the state of the Liberian economy, despite all of the exogenous factors, including COVID-19 and all its variants and how Liberia conquered the pandemic without suffering the magnitude as other countries around the world did.

The President will certainly corroborate and articulate impressive growth and development under his regime which commenced on a very poor footing economically when he took power in 2018.

Expects are unanimous on their data that the Liberian economy recovered in 2021 from COVID-19, with GDP estimated to have recovered to grow by 3.3% from a decline of 3.0% in 2020.

The President will certainly not forget to inform the international community gathering at the UNGA that biting inflation eased from 17% in 2020 to 8.0% in 2021 on a steady decline in food prices.

It will not be a surprise when the President generally paint a favorable outlook of the economy, other expects posit, that growth is projected at 3.5% in 2022 and 4.3% in 2023, driven by expansion in mining, services, manufacturing, and agriculture.

It is also highly likely that the Liberian leader will also proudly reel through 

Liberia’s COVID-19 success story, having being on the verge to be declared free and safe.

Liberia reported the 7,965 COVID-17 cases since 2020 with only 294 deaths, and the rest recovering.

The Executive Mansion source also intimidated that the President could close on the domestic front by calling on the UNGA attention to cruel elections that are expected in the country 2023.

It is any country’s pride to celebrate uninterrupted democratic trajectory underpinned by frequent elections, and the President could brief his colleagues about how under his leadership several midterm and by-elections were conducted peacefully and freely, with his own ruling party losing at some times to opposition candidates.

This is to accentuate Liberia’s and the President’s own commitment to democratic norms and the forward match to glorious democratic days never before in the past.

According to inside sources, not much is expected on international issues in the President’s speech today, according to our inside source, except on climate change and international terrorism to which the president will reiterate Liberia’s commitment consistent with protocols and instruments signed.   

 The Ukraine situation will be condemned, the source said, but not in any strong words and details as the President would project “a nonaligned posture on the basis of which he will be calling for an end of the war surely due to is economic impact on nations of the world.

“Liberia has nothing specific to gain in condemning Russia in vociferous ways and in exalting Ukraine victories on the battlefield,” the insider told The Analyst. “The President will neither condemn the west for sanctions against Russia and for supporting Ukraine.”

“What I think the President will be do is to call for political settlement and emphasize the negative multiplying efforts of the war particularly on developing countries,” he added. “What is important to Liberia is for the war to end, having known the woes of war for 14 years here, so that international aid and other focus on developing countries reduced by the war will recover.”

Following his address, Dr. Weah will hold a bilateral meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres.

Later, President Weah will participate in a special Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State in New York on the margins of the UNGA at 5 pm on September 22, 2022.

    Special aides to the President who are in New York with him have filed reports as they witness things at the UNGA.

A longtime friend of the President, current Commissioner General of the Liberia Maritime Commission, Lenn Eugene Nagbe weighed in, writing on his Facebook page: “The General Debate and the scheduled meetings are the core of UNGA 77

but side conversations and impromptu engagements in the corridors with other world and US leaders are where the real issues are dealt with.

“A few shots with President Weah holding tete-a-tete to push Liberia’s agenda with some colleagues including Nana Akufo-Addo, Ali Bongo and President Biden’s cabinet officials Tony Blinken, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, John Kerry amongst others. More conversations tonight….and tomorrow, and day after.  The motherland will never fail.”

Another presidential aide, Sekou Kalasco Damaro also wrote this on his Facebook page: “Some pictures of day two of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 77). Linda Thomas-Greenfield, John Kerry, and other African leaders. President George M Weah expected to make the case of the country tomorrow.”

Liberian supporters of the President are mobilizing to accord him a rousing welcome at the UNGA.

Organizing Chairperson, Mr. Abraham Chea Tucker, DCA CDCUSA, last evening sent out an announcement stating as follows: “Good day fellow compatriots and well-wishers! Key announcement: Thursday, September 22nd. Point of assembly/solidarity rally welcoming President George Manneh Weah at UNGA. Opposite the Daghammarjold Plaza on 1st Avenue and 42nd Street, NY, NY 10017. Time: 7:30am to 2:30pm. President Weah’s UNGA address at 9am (09/22/2022). We will update you as the information unfolds.  Safe travel, see you at the UNGA.”

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