The Latest on the United Nations General Assembly (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

Two of Macedonia’s closest neighbors are welcoming the country’s upcoming referendum on changing its name.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told the U.N. General Assembly on Friday that the agreement between Greece and Macedonia to resolve their long-standing dispute over the name is an example of a “new spirit” between countries in the region.

Greece objects to Macedonia’s current name, saying it implies a claim to territory in the Greek province with that name and to the heritage of the birthplace of revered ancient warrior Alexander the Great.

Albania’s President Ilir Meta likewise welcomed the agreement in his speech to world leaders Friday, contrasting with Macedonia’s own president, who told the assembly a day earlier that voters should abstain from Sunday’s referendum on renaming the country “North Macedonia.”


9:30 a.m.

Civil war-torn South Sudan is calling on the international community, “including those who are skeptical, to give peace a chance” as the latest agreement to end the conflict moves forward.

First Vice President Taban Deng Gai told the U.N. gathering of world leaders Friday that the East African country is on schedule to hold “free and fair” general elections after a 36-month transition period under the new agreement.

The United States and others are wary of this latest deal, which returns rebel leader Riek Machar as President Salva Kiir’s deputy. Fighting between their supporters sparked the civil war in late 2013.

A new report this week gave a striking new estimate of the conflict’s toll: 382,900 deaths, with roughly half blamed on violence and many others on disease.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, center, receives a word from Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vassily Nebenzia as he attends a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

“As brothers and sisters we have hurt each other,” the first vice president told the U.N.


9:00 a.m.

Moscow is expected to use its address to world leaders to enshrine Russia as a counterweight to U.S. influence in areas from the Mideast to Venezuela and the Korean peninsula.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has held a flurry of bilateral meetings at the United Nations this week and has loudly defended Russia’s strategies in meetings at the Security Council.

Syria has been Russia’s running theme, as Moscow seeks to manage the end of the civil war and ensure a long-term foothold in the region.

Russia is Syrian President Bashar Assad’s longtime patron and wants Western financing for Syria’s reconstruction while maintaining the upper hand in discussions on Syria’s political future.


7:00 a.m.

The two countries that the United States has accused of interfering with its elections are taking take their turns at the podium at the United Nations’ annual gathering of world leaders.

Major powers China and Russia — neither of which sent their most senior leader to the U.N. General Assembly — will put forth their foreign ministers to tell their stories.

The accusations against China came this week from U.S. President Donald Trump, who said he has evidence but so far has not released any. In contrast, Russia has been the focus of a special counsel investigation, which Trump has lambasted as a political “witch hunt.”

Source: The Associated Press

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