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Tuesday November 30, 2021

UNGA to not sit idly until peace restored in Middle East: Volkan Bozkir

UN's inaction on the issue of Palestine is hurting its credibility, says UNGA president Bozkir

By Web Desk
May 27, 2021
United Nations General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir. Photo: APP

United Nations General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir on Thursday held a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad and said that the UNGA will not sit idly until peace is restored in the Middle East.

Referring to the issue of Palestine, Bozkir said that the UN's inaction on the issue of Palestine is hurting its credibility.

"Inaction on the issue of Palestine, which is a grave matter, is damaging the credibility of the United Nations and the Security Council," Bozkir said, adding that it is hoped that the Security Council will also hear a unanimous vote on this important and necessary issue.

"Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in blatant human rights abuses," Bozkir said. "Negotiations are urgently needed to establish two independent states. The UN General Assembly will not sit idly until peace is restored in the Middle East," he said.

The UNGA Secretary-General also spoke about the Kashmir issue and said that he is well-aware of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, adding that he knows who a common Pakistani feels about the issue.

"I have always urged the parties to refrain from changing the status of the disputed territory. I urge India and Pakistan to work for a peaceful solution to this problem," he said, adding that peace, stability and prosperity hinge on the normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India through the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Bozkir also spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and said that the coronavirus vaccine is equally needed by rich and poor countries, adding that governments' efforts are yielding results.

Regarding Afghanistan, Volkan Bozkir said that peace in the country is imperative for stability in the region.

"The Afghan peace process should be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led," he said while appreciating Pakistan's role in the peace process in Afghanistan.

PM Imran Khan meets PGA Bozkir

Prime Minister Imran Khan also had a meeting with PGA Bozir in Islamabad today, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

A wide range of issues was discussed during the meeting pertaining to regional and international peace and security, sustainable development, and economic recovery efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Views were exchanged on key items on the UN agenda such as Palestine, the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, the Afghan peace process, and illicit financial flows from proceeds of crime, corruption, and bribery, the statement said.

The PM lauded the role of PGA in convening the special meeting of the GA on Palestine, stressing that following the announcement of the ceasefire, steps should be taken to revive the peace process and ensure a just and lasting solution in line with relevant UN resolutions and two-state vision.

The PM underscored Pakistan’s strong commitment to multilateralism with the UN playing a central role. He highlighted the need for enhanced international cooperation, under the UN auspices, to address climate change and environmental degradation, as well as debt relief to support the developing countries’ economic recovery efforts and attainment of SDGs by the target date of 2030.

Bozkir briefed Prime Minister Khan on the various initiatives undertaken during his presidency of the UN General Assembly to address key international political and socio-economic issues.

It should be recalled that PGA Bozkir had reached Pakistan on a three-day visit at the invitation of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi a day ago (Wednesday, May 26).

He landed in the country after concluding his visit to Bangladesh.

"After an important and fruitful official visit to Bangladesh, I arrived in Islamabad for my official visit to Pakistan," Bozkir had said. "I look forward to my important meetings in Islamabad."

Bozkir is the first Turkish national to preside over the UN General Assembly. He is a former diplomat and a senior politician.

Following his 39-year long illustrious diplomatic career in the Turkish Foreign Service, Bozkir was elected thrice as a member of the Turkish Parliament and has served as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and EU Affairs minister.

He last visited Pakistan in August 2020 before taking up the position of president of the UNGA.

“The visit of the PGA would lend an opportunity to showcase Pakistan’s active contributions to multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations in international affairs,” the Foreign Office had said in a statement.