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UN at Glance

UN official languages

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Originally English and French were established as working languages at the UN. Later, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish were added as working languages in the General Assembly and in the Economic and Social Council. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish are the working languages of the Security Council.

The official languages used at the United Nations are:

The working languages at the UN Secretariat are English and French.

A delegate may speak in any of the official languages, and the speech is interpreted simultaneously into the other official languages. Most UN documents are also issued in all six official languages. At times, a delegate may choose to make a statement using a non-official language. In such cases, the delegation must provide either an interpretation or a written text of the statement in one of the official languages.