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New York: General Debate of the 71st session of the United Nations kicks off

21 September 2016 at 00:21 | 2490 views

The general debate of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly opened this morning with emphasis on not just maintaining world peace but also ensuring that implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), adopted by its 193 Member States in 2015, is well in progress.

It kicked off with a welcome reception hosted by the Secretary General and Mrs. Ban Soon-taek in honour of Heads of State and Government, Vice Presidents and Crown Princes and Princesses and their spouses.

President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson delivered the welcome address with the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon delivering a rousing and inspirational statement on the road travelled so for by the world premier body under the aegis of his leadership. The highlight of today’s debate was the address by the president of the host country, Barack Obama who thrilled the assembly with his call for a model for international relations, quoting Martin Luther King Jr., saying he believes people should strive to be "coworkers with God," in the pursuit of peace and prosperity.

Being his final speech before the world body, President Obama expressed firm belief that the United Nations should reflect the "irreducible truth" that doing what is "best for all people" is also the best way to ensure a better future for humankind.

Right to left: President Koroma, Foreign Minister Samura Kamara, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Joseph Kamara and Information Minister Mohamed Bangura.

Defending his foreign policy track record, he described the US during the course of his two term presidency as "a force for good". He called for outright rejection of all forms of fundamentalism and racism across the world.

President Koroma, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (second from left) and First Lady Sia Koroma (first from right).

Sierra Leone’s President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma is expected to address the General Assembly on Thursday, September 22.

In another development, President Koroma alongside other leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met on the sidelines of the UN summit to discuss the political situation in Guinea Bissau. Will bring you outcome of the talks and final communique.