India gets front-row seat at 75th UNGA; wins membership of 3 Ecosoc bodies

UNSC expansion to be Turkish UNGA chief's priority

India gets front-row seat at 75th UNGA; wins membership of 3 Ecosoc bodies

Photo for representation only.

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 16

The 75th Session of the UN General Assembly got under way with its new President assuring that he will attempt to break the deadlock on the expansion of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and take the process forward.

Acknowledging the fact that UNSC’s expansion has been debated for years with no significant progress, the UNGA President for the Session Volkan Bozkir said the issue is important because the working and working methods of UNSC must reflect the realities of the 21st century. This is exactly what India, one of the aspirants to a permanent seat on an expanded UNSC, says.

“This process is member-states driven. We will build on the meetings in previous sessions,” he said while bemoaning the US quarantine policy that has inhibited heads of state and governments from attending the session in person and, by their physical presence, guiding their delegations to indulge in off-the-record discussions.

Bozkir said his first priority will be to appoint facilitators for the process after holding consultations with member countries.

India, which has been seated in the front row and has under its belt successful elections to three ECOSOC bodies, would be taking his statement with circumspection since Bozkir is a Turkish while the question was asked by a Pakistani journalist and both their nations have plans for UNSC expansion very different from what India has been lobbying for: Permanent memberships for itself, Germany, Brazil, Japan and nominees from Africa.

Bozkir attacked the US quarantine policy and was unaware if the US President Donald Trump would be the lone head of state to address the momentous diamond jubilee session of the UNGA.

Pushing strongly for in-person meetings, he said the “silent process didn’t help in making decisions”.

Now that the UN has begun physical interactions, “we are going to show that the UN is back”, he said while strongly defending the WHO ahead of a UNGA special session to discuss Covid, tentatively scheduled for the first week of November. Another special session will deal with corruption.

Asked about his country’s views shaping his decisions, he agreed that having served for 39 years in the diplomatic services and 10 years as a politician, he would have “some views”.

“But I think the chair must be impartial. I must look at a situation from the UN perspective and not my country’s perspective,” he said when asked how he would arbitrate between Turkey and Greece on their contest for the Eastern Mediterranean.

On the vaccine, Bozkir said if it is found, the world must ensure it is distributed fairly and justly instead of only a part of the world benefiting from it while leaving the major portion of the world to a later stage. “UN’s role and GA’s role comes into picture at this point. I will make it a priority to make statements on this point. There is a run to finding the vaccine. That is going to be a major solution to the problem,” he observed.

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