NEWS

UN precedes General Assembly with social media session

09/13/2011 10:26 EDT | Updated 11/13/2011 05:12 EST

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled Tuesday to hold his first live "global conversation" with the public through social media including Twitter and Facebook ahead of the opening of the 66th session of the General Assembly.

From New York, Ban will answer questions on a range of pressing United Nations issues during his hour-long social media availability starting at 11 a.m. ET.

The United Nations says more than 5,500 questions in the six official UN languages — as well as Portuguese and Swahili — have already been submitted by people around the world. Ban will answer select questions posed by moderator Juju Chang of ABC News in the United States.

The event is being streamed live.

After the session opens Tuesday, presided over by incoming president Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar, the assembly goes to committee Wednesday and holds a plenary meeting Friday.

The assembly has more than 160 items on its preliminary agenda, ranging from sustainable development, to disaster reduction, protecting the global climate, the advancement of women and eradicating poverty.

Mideast conflict high on agenda

High on the agenda to debate are resolutions regarding the volatile situations in Libya, Afghanistan and the Middle East, and whether to support the Palestinian bid to become a UN member, after years of advocating a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians launched a campaign on Sept. 8 to rally support for UN recognition as an independent state. It is holding demonstrations in the Palestinian territories and worldwide ahead of asking the world body for acceptance as a full member state.

The public relations blitz helps set up a diplomatic showdown at the UN, where Israel and the U.S. are leading opposition to the bid, and adds to concerns in Israel that mass demonstrations could turn violent.

The U.S. administration has said it would veto any Security Council resolution to recognize Palestinian statehood.

The General Assembly, established in 1945, is the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations, and comprises all 193 UN members. The assembly, which meets every September to December, provides a forum for discussing international issues covered under the UN charter, and plays a significant role in the process of setting standards and codification of international law.

Al-Nasser on Monday replaced Joseph Deiss of Switzerland following the 65th General Assembly.

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