National leaders and foreign ministers from around the world gather in New York Saturday for the annual "general debate" in the United Nations General Assembly.
The session provides a forum for top leaders to speak to the world on any issues they choose. The speeches are analyzed closely for what is said and how it is said which can sometimes indicate changes in national policies.
U.N. chief spokesman Fred Eckhard says that this year, he expects that most of the speeches will include a discussion of international terrorism. "I think after the 11th of September, all nations are re-thinking their security policies and the secretary-general has sensed a keener interest on the part of almost all countries to work more closely together," stressed Mr. Eckhard.
The seven-day General Assembly session was postponed for six-weeks because of the September 11 attacks. Security for the event is always heavy but even more so this year.
In addition to the speeches, the session gives world leaders a chance to meet each other in person and hold talks on bilateral and international issues. For example, President Bush will be in New York for two days, meeting with a number of leaders including President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, a key ally in the fight against terrorism.