"It is no secret that the organization has grown too complex and bureaucratic to be able to respond to today’s challenges in a swift manner. Some even question its credibility and relevance. Latvia also wishes to see the United Nations more effective, more transparent, and more flexible, so it can bring positive, real influence to people on the ground," Vējonis told his audience in the partially full chamber. You can watch the full speech below.
"The UN must preserve, and in some instances, regain, the trust of citizens and member states in its ability to prevent and respond to crises, and to promote a rules-based global order," Vējonis advised.
The over-riding theme of the speech was the need for the UN to move closer to helping ordinary people, particularly in conflict zones, rather than wasting time and money on well-meaning but ineffective and inefficient initiatives and paperwork.
"Saving human lives and upholding human dignity must be our common priority," Vējonis said.
However, it was notable that the president offered no concrete examples of how to achieve such goals other than via vague notions of "reform" and support for the Secretary General.
He also condemned North Korea's aggressive nuclear and ballistic missile tests, the use of chemical weapons by Syria, and Russia's occupation of parts of Ukraine:
"Russia’s unprovoked aggression against its neighbors is a serious breach of international security rules. There must be accountability for violations of international law for any aggressor who initiates and sustains these conflicts.
For Latvia, the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine and respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is a priority. Russia’s continued aggression in Eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol cannot become “business as usual.”
But after a strong start, the speech tailed away into a long list of things Latvia supports: the Paris climate change agreement, freedom of speech, "development gains", good governance, combatting corruption, empowering women and "peace and a decent life for everyone".
You can compare Vējonis' address to those of his Baltic counterparts, who spoke the previous day, HERE.
The annual General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly is the occasion for world leaders to gather at UN Headquarters to discuss global issues.
Below is a video explaining what the UN General Assembly is all about.