New York City officials are expanding police presence around the United Nations complex in anticipation of the General Assembly debate, beginning Tuesday, which is expected to be attended by dozens of world leaders.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is vowing a “bigger than ever” police presence this week to protect those heads of state, including President Barack Obama, who will be in attendance to speak on the General Assembly floor. De Blasio asked New Yorkers to “be vigilant because we’re going into the United Nations Assembly week. Be vigilant because the police need your help. And if you see anything that might be pertinent to this case, we need you to call it in.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 1,000 officers would be deployed to New York City and its surroundings in response to the multiple terrorist attacks throughout the New York area this past weekend. Cuomo noted, however, that there was “no reason to believe at this time that there is an immediate threat” to the United Nations General Assembly. The fugitive believed to be responsible for bombings in Manhattan, Elizabeth, and Seaside Park, NJ, was arrested Monday.
Police identified 28-year-old Ahmed Khan Rahami as the main suspect in all three bombings, identified after police detained five individuals in relation to the Chelsea bombing. Rahami was last known to live in Elizabeth, where police found five explosive devices at the NJ Transit station early Monday morning and accidentally detonated one of them. There were no injuries. Police searched an apartment above a fried chicken restaurant the New York Times identified as belonging to the Rahami family.
Rahami himself is a naturalized former Afghan citizen and witnesses say he worked at the restaurant. No terrorist group has taken responsibility for the various bombs left throughout the New York area this past weekend, and while the Chelsea bomb injured dozens, no serious injuries or deaths have been recorded.
“I want New Yorkers to be confident when they go back to work on Monday that New York is up and running and that we’re doing everything we need to do. And I feel comfortable that this additional deployment will help do that and is prudent on this occasion,” Cuomo added.
President Obama is expected to speak Tuesday at the General Assembly. This year’s theme for the floor debate is “The Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world,” with a special focus on climate change.
Among the other topics to be discussed by world leaders are the Syrian civil war, North Korea’s two nuclear bomb tests since the last General Assembly, and the global migrant crisis. Over 140 heads of state are expected to attend from some of the most volatile regions in the world, among them Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko; Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari; Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan; and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. A representative of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is also expected to speak. Last week, a representative of the Islamic State affiliate Boko Haram allegedly vowed to abduct and behead Buhari for being an “infidel” Muslim agent of the state.
On Monday, the United Nations was hosting a special “Summit for Refugees and Migrants.” “At the Summit, countries are expcected [sic] to make bold commitment to protect the rights, safety and dignity of refugees and migrants everywhere,” the United Nations website promises.