World leaders on Saturday in their deliberations at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly called for efforts to uphold multilateralism to tackle global challenges.
In a pre-recorded speech, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob stressed the importance of peaceful coexistence and multilateralism.
"Multilateralism and peaceful coexistence are mutually reinforcing. We need to realize that as we progress further, we should be far more integrated and stronger as a family of nations," said the prime minister, adding that respect and mutual understanding must be the backbone and essence in the interactions and discourse.
"The (COVID-19) pandemic has shown that we need to improve our resolve to strengthen international cooperation and multilateralism, and consider ourselves as a family of nations," he said. "At the same time, the world family must be made a more peaceful, prosperous, sustainable and equitable one. We must close ranks and enhance our unity and cohesion. We must live in peaceful coexistence. Only then will we have a chance to succeed."
Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who delivered a speech in person, said the most important lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that multilateral cooperation is essential to overcome global challenges.
"Only coordinated international action can lead us to a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient recovery. This is why the role of the United Nations is so crucial, especially for small and developing countries," he said.
Balakrishnan said the world also needs a sustained and ambitious global response to address climate change.
"The fight against climate change will be a stark litmus test of our ability to manage the global commons through multilateral action. No country acting alone can move the needle," he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who also delivered his speech in person, warned against attempts to undermine the central role of the United Nations in world politics.
"Essentially, we have no other option, as the broad cooperation (mechanism) of the United Nations is particularly relevant now, when the number of problems on the international agenda is increasing, the range of cross-border threats is expanding, numerous regional hot spots of tension have a substantial potential to destabilize," said Lavrov.
For Russia, it is obvious that one can only effectively counter threats and challenges through concerted efforts in strict compliance with the universally recognized norms of international law -- first and foremost, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, he said.