ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan, climate change and the coronavirus crises will dominate discussions at the U.N. General Assembly’s hybrid high-level debate starting Tuesday in which a large number of world leaders, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, are set to participate, as security is tightened in New York.
Despite U.S. requests that member states send pre-recorded messages to curb the spread of the coronavirus, 83 heads of state, 43 prime ministers, three deputy prime ministers and 23 foreign ministers are scheduled to address the General Assembly in person.
PM Khan will virtually address what is known as the “world’s biggest diplomatic gathering” on September 24, as also the presidents of Iran, Egypt, France, Indonesia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Each delegation will be permitted to bring up to seven members to the general debate, including the chief delegate, in the scaled-down 76th session of the 193-member Assembly. Covid-19 had pushed the 75th anniversary session last year online for the first time in UN’s history.
This year’s theme is: “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainability, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations”.
“We will participate actively in the General Assembly session,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram said in an interview with APP correspondent Iftikhar Ali.
Noting that the world confronts multiple challenges — the Covid pandemic, it’s devastating impact on the economies of developing countries and ever growing threat of frequent climate disasters — he said these threats coincide with rising tensions between the great powers, particularly the US and China, a new arms race and persisting and proliferating conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and other regions of the world.
“It is expected that the focus of the General Assembly’s discussions will be on these global issues and on certain conflict situations,” the Pakistan envoy said.
Member states, he added, are also expected to respond to the comprehensive report entitled: Our Common Agenda submitted last week by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that contains several new proposals for enabling the U.N. to deal with the world’s current and future problems.
Ambassador Akram said Pakistan’s policy statement, which will be delivered by Prime Minister Khan, is expected to convey Islamabad’s views on the major global economic and political issues as well as on the grave situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and on the fast evolving situation in Afghanistan.
Throughout the session, he said, Pakistan will draw the world‘s attention to the human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir, the imperative to stabilize Afghanistan, the need to combat Islamophobia and counter disinformation, such as that being propagated by India, as well as to address the economic challenges confronting developing countries.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will participate in person in several events being held during the Assembly’s high level week including a meeting of the OIC Working Group on Jammu and Kashmir, a Ministerial meeting of the Uniting for Consensus group on Security Council reform, and a high level meeting on Energy. The Foreign Minister will also hold a number of bilateral meetings with his counterparts, meet the UNSG, address think tanks and meet members of the Pakistani community and businessmen in New York besides the Pakistani and international media.