UN Latest: Zelenskiy Meets Billionaires in Quest For Funds

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is meeting Wall Street billionaires including Citadel founder Ken Griffin and Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman to discuss using private-sector funds to help rebuild Ukraine, people familiar with the plans said.

(Bloomberg) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is meeting Wall Street billionaires including Citadel founder Ken Griffin and Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman to discuss using private-sector funds to help rebuild Ukraine, people familiar with the plans said.

The meeting, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, was arranged by JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive Mary Erdoes and was set to include representatives from Ukraine, according to one of the people.

Jon Gray, President and Chief Operating Officer of Blackstone, was also invited to participate, Fox Business News reported earlier. JPMorgan declined to comment.

Click here for the full schedule of speakers at the UN General Assembly this week.

Essential reading:

  • Latest on Russia’s invasion: Biden Calls for More Ukraine Aid as Allies See Longer War
  • Read The Big Take on global fragmentation: The Global Economy Enters an Era of Upheaval
  • Bloomberg geoeconomist Jennifer Welch breaks down China’s effort to exert more influence at the UN
  • Read Iain Marlow’s World Disappointed by the UN Now Looks Elsewhere for Answers. And watch here.

(All times are NY)


Netanyahu Touts ‘Historic Peace’ With Saudi Arabia (4:45 p.m.)

US President Joe Biden met Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York for the first time since the Israeli leader returned to power nine months ago, a modest step toward easing tension between the two leaders.

Read more: Biden Finally Meets Netanyahu After Nine-Month Freeze

The meeting, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, also touched on Biden’s disapproval over Netanyahu’s efforts to weaken the judiciary and his government’s treatment of Palestinians, as well as Iran’s nuclear program and a US push for Saudi Arabia and Israel to normalize ties.

Biden invited Netanyahu to the White House, a meeting the Israeli leader has sought since forming a governing coalition with far-right political parties late last year. 

Zelenskiy Holds Long-Sought Meeting with Brazil’s Lula (4:15 p.m.)

Zelenskiy held his first in-person meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, one of the most prominent voices from the Global South who hasn’t embraced Kyiv’s position on the war.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Dmytro Kuleba told reporters after the session that the meeting was an important moment and that that two leaders now understand each other. His Brazilian counterpart said the two sides had agreed to keep in contact.

Blinken Meets Ukraine Officials on Recovery Efforts (3:30 p.m.)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a US delegation met with Ukrainian officials and private sector investors to discuss the war-ravaged country’s longer-term economic recovery on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who has been appointed as the Biden administration’s envoy for Ukraine’s recovery, was part of the US team, while private sector representatives included executives from Citibank and Archer Daniels Midland Co.

“We’ve already seen remarkable strides — not only to build back what has been lost, but in many cases to build back with the future in mind,” Blinken said as the meeting began.

UN Peacekeeping Missions on the Decline (3:15 p.m.)

Recent data show that active UN peacekeeping missions are at their lowest since the early 1990s, underscoring the diminished role for the organization globally.

There are now 12 peacekeeping missions around the world, according to UN data.

That decline highlights how the UN Security Council has been unable to agree on new commitments for troops given divisions that were opened up by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. UN peacekeepers were also dealt a blow after revelations that peacekeepers inadvertently introduced cholera to Haiti in 2010, killing thousands.

Iceland Will Raise Tourism Tax to Fight Climate Change (2 p.m.)

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir says her country will need to raise a tax levied against tourism in a bid to fight climate change.

“We are not doing enough,” she said. “All nations need to accelerate their climate action.”

Jakobsdottir said tourism has grown exponentially and people coming to the country have created pressure on the country’s ecosystem. She said the taxes woudn’t be high.

Zelenskiy Blasts ‘Criminal’ War, Calls to End Russia Veto (12:53 p.m.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy lashed out at Russia in his first in-person address to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, calling for Moscow to be stripped of its powerful veto as one of the permanent members of the UN’s top decision-making body. 

“Veto power in the hands of the aggressor is what has pushed the UN into deadlock,” Zelenskiy told council members during a tense session, adding that it is impossible for the body to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because of Moscow’s ability to veto any effort or initiative at the Security Council.

Amid the impassioned speeches, it was admissions of the UN’s powerlessness to stop the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II that rang truer than the calls for changing the international body’s rules, something that few diplomats think is likely. 

Read more: Zelenskiy Blasts ‘Criminal’ War, Calls for Ending Russia UN Veto

EU backs expansion of carbon pricing (11:43 a.m.)

The European Union will support the creation of green bond markets in poorer countries and a reform of the international financial system to prompt low-carbon investment, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

The 27-members bloc also wants to work with the UN Secretary General and interested countries to have at least 60% of global emissions covered by carbon pricing by 2030 compared with the current 23%.

“This already brings revenue of $95 billion so just imagine we could cover 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of revenue that we would get to invest in low- and middle-income countries,” von der Leyen told the Climate Ambition Summit in New York.

Poland’s Duda Jabs at Zelenskiy (7:25 a.m.)

Polish President Andrzej Duda criticized Zelenskiy over a dispute about imported grain in comments that threaten an alliance that’s been central to Kyiv’s push to repel Russia’s invasion.

The dispute centers on Warsaw’s ban on Ukrainian grain imports a month before an election, which has driven a wedge between the wartime allies. 

“We cannot allow that Ukrainian grain is sold on the Polish market without any control,” Duda said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on the sidelines of the General Assembly. “It’s a pity our Ukrainian neighbors don’t want to understand that.”

Read more: Poland’s Duda Jabs at Zelenskiy as Once-Strong Bond Frays


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