The chief of staff of the U.S. President Donald Trump told journalists aboard Air Force One on Thursday that the President will not attend next week's UN General Assembly gathering in person, according to a pool report.

The decision marks a U-turn for Mr. Trump, who last month said he wants to deliver his speech in the General Assembly hall in New York, does not matter if other world leaders are staying away due to the coronavirus pandemic.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ended the debate once and for all, telling reporters en route to Wisconsin, where Mr. Trump was to hold a campaign rally, that he would not physically attend the General Assembly's 75th session, which will take place mainly by videoconference due to the health crisis.

The main part of this year's UNGA, when world leaders take turns to give speeches, runs through the week starting September 21 and ends on September 29.

In opening remarks Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized this year's focus on the global response to the coronavirus pandemic plus “peace and security, disarmament, human rights, gender equality, and sustainable development.”

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