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International relations

Afghanistan tops laundry list of challenges at U.N. debate

Vaccine inequality and climate change also big topics as leaders gather in person

The United Nations Headquarters in New York: global leaders will be returning to the building after a mainly online General Assembly in 2020.   © Reuters

UNITED NATIONS -- The situation in Afghanistan, the coronavirus vaccine and climate change are expected to dominate discussions at the U.N. General Assembly starting Tuesday, with dozens of global leaders meeting face to face for the first time in two years.

Despite U.S. requests that countries send prerecorded messages instead to curb the spread of the coronavirus, 83 heads of state, 43 prime ministers, three deputy prime ministers and 23 foreign ministers were scheduled to address the General Assembly in person as of Friday.

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