They said it: Leaders at the UN, in their own words

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Many leaders saying many things about many topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world: That’s what the U.N. General Assembly invariably produces each year.

And each year, certain voices dominate. Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts — delivered universally from the rostrum at the United Nations following successive years of a virtual, then hybrid summit — from leaders who might have not captured the headlines and airtime on Thursday, the third day of the 2022 debate.


“Maybe it is, in the words of Jimmy Cliff, that we have to keep tryin’ and tryin’ and tryin’, but the world must stand up if our citizens are to live a better life. I say so today because it is easy to come only and complain, but the truth it is within our power to be able to make that difference and that definable change."

— Mia Amor Mottley, prime minister of Barbados


“In Somalia we have a wise saying and it is: ‘One finger cannot wash the whole face.’ If we work together sincerely, collaboratively as a community of nations no challenge, no matter how big it is, is insurmountable."

— Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, president of Somalia


“I would like to conclude by conveying a message my 10-year-old daughter Giorgia Mae, who is here in the audience, wished me to pass on when I explained to her that I would be addressing this meeting of world leaders. She said: ‘I would like the world leaders to be an example to us children and leave behind a beautiful Earth.’"

— Robert Abela, prime minister of Malta


“In the same way there is concern about illegal drugs on the streets of the rich countries, there must be concern about guns on the streets of developing countries like Jamaica."

— Andrew Holness, prime minister of Jamaica


“Two years ago, we feared we might never again live in a world in which two people could shake hands or embrace each other. We came to the point of believing that such gestures of courtesy and affection would be collateral victims of the pandemic. Today, that world, which seemed out of reach, is already back. Similar fears have been felt at various moments of human history, when society has been faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges."

— Pedro Sánchez, prime minister of Spain


For more AP coverage of the U.N. General Assembly, visit