World leaders are “unlikely” to participate in the annual UN general assembly that will be held in New York in September due to coronavirus pandemic, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

With an interview with a French magazine, UN chief said that he has been looking at “various alternatives” possible due to digital technology and he will present it to the member states.

According to many UN envoys, the meeting is most likely to be held by a video conference. This year will also mark the 75th anniversary for the United Nations.

One of the anonymous ambassadors told the AFP that this year “the procedures are certainly going to be atypical, hybrid, different” and “much lighter in terms of a physical presence.”

The ambassador also said that he does not understand how the United Nations will manage such an “enormous” mass gathering in New York.

New York has been the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States since mid-March. UN employees and diplomats have worked from home.

Despite the UN headquarters is open to all but very few people are working there and the Security Council and the General Assembly meet via videoconferencing. These working conditions are predicted to stay at least till June end.

The annual General Assembly is scheduled to begin on September 15 and the world leaders will begin their respective speeches on September 22.

It is the largest annual diplomatic gathering in the world and it features events on the sidelines of New York, as well as thousands of bilateral and multilateral meetings.

The meeting has never been cancelled since 1945, but it has been delayed. It has been delayed twice, once during the 1964 financial crisis within the organization and because several members were facing the loss of their voting rights. The second time when it got delayed was during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.

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