A police K-9 unit works at a security checkpoint outside the United Nations headquarters on the first day of the general debate at the U.N. General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The Latest: UN chief warns world faces a 'great fracture'

September 24, 2019 - 6:18 am

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations (all times local):

9:16 a.m.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning global leaders of the looming risk of the world splitting in two with the two largest economies, the United States and China, creating rival internets, currencies, financial rules "and their own zero sum geopolitical and military strategies."

The U.N. chief said in his "state of the world address" Tuesday to the General Assembly's annual gathering of heads of state and government that the risk "may not yet be large, but it is real."

He said "we must do everything possible to avert the Great Fracture" and maintain a universal economy in a multipolar world.

Guterres painted a grim picture of a deeply divided and anxious planet facing a climate crisis, "the alarming possibility" of a Gulf conflict, spreading terrorism spreading and rising inequality.

___

12:05

World leaders are convening at the annual U.N. General Assembly. They're grappling with climate change, regional conflicts and a potential dispute in the Middle East that could impact the entire planet.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will open the proceedings. He'll be followed immediately by the traditional first speaker — Brazil, represented by its new president, Jair Bolsonaro — and the United States, represented by President Donald Trump.

The United Nations was designed to promote a multilateral world. But it has struggled in the face of increasing unilateralism by nations that favor going it alone.

The event unfolds against the backdrop of flaring tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis say Iran was responsible for an attack earlier this month on two oil facilities, which Iran denies.