UN General Assembly kicks off 71st session
Updated: 2016-09-14 09:24
UNITED NATIONS - The UN General Assembly kicked off its 71st session on Tuesday with a focus on joint global efforts to carry out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint for ending poverty and hunger, advancing equality, and protecting the environment for the years leading up to 2030.
The new annual session was declared open by Peter Thomson, president of the 71st session of the General Assembly. Thomson, the UN ambassador of Fiji, was elected to the current post by the UN General Assembly in June.
Minutes before the opening of the new annual session, Thomson raised his right hand with a copy of the UN Charter in it and took the oath of office -- the first General Assembly president to do so in the history of the United Nations.
The oath-taking came just hours after the General Assembly adopted a Code of Ethics for the office in the shadow of a bribery scandal involving one of former General Assembly presidents, John Ashe, the UN ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda.
Ashe, president of the 68th General Assembly session from September 2013 to September 2014, was accused by federal prosecutors of accepting more than 1 million US dollars in bribes, turning his position into a "platform for profit." He pleaded innocent.