Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir was elected President of the forthcoming UN General Assembly in a vote on Wednesday, which was typical of its time.
Wearing facemasks and practicing physical distancing, ambassadors from 192 UN Member States filed into the iconic but empty General Assembly Hall to cast their ballots during pre-determined time slots: an added layer of protection in the COVID-19 era.
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to work under extraordinary conditions to overcome the myriad of challenges facing us,” the current General Assembly President, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, said ahead of the elections.
“Indeed,” he added, “(they) represent our common commitment to ensuring the uninterrupted continuation of the important work of the United Nations, in accordance with the values and principles of the United Nations Charter.”Volkan Bozkir, a veteran diplomat and member of parliament, will chair the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which begins in September. He was the only candidate for the position.
In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry hailed the election of the Turkish diplomat as President of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Ambassador Volkan Bozkır, Former Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, Chairman of the Commission of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, was elected on 17 June 2020 as the President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Elected by the full support from the overwhelming majority of UN Member States, Ambassador Bozkır is expected to take office as the President of the 75th UN General Assembly on 15 September 2020 for a duration of one year.
A Turkish citizen will hereby undertake this highest-ranking position within the UN system for the first time in the history of the organization.
“Turkey announced its candidature in 2014 from the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) and Ambassador Bozkır was officially nominated to this position on 12 September 2019. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan formally declared Ambassador Bozkır’s candidacy in his address to the UN General Assembly on 17 September 2019”.
UN General Assembly, the only body in which all Member States are represented equally is the key decision-making organ of the UN, serving as the voice and conscience of the international community. For this reason, it is of paramount importance that the General Assembly continues to carry out its mandate decisively and efficiently in the period ahead, the statement says.
Continuing, the Turkish Foreign Minister notes that “the President of the General Assembly assumes a leadership throughout this process and plays a conciliatory role that enables member states to take pertinent decisions on global problems and their solutions, with a perspective to promoting multilateralism and international cooperation”.
It is of particular significance that Ambassador Bozkır will assume his duties as President of the General Assembly during the 75th anniversary of the UN and the challenging times when the UN system seeks effective responses to COVID-19 pandemic.
“With this understanding, we are confident that Ambassador Bozkır, as an experienced diplomat and politician, will successfully fulfill this distinguished responsibility, make valuable contributions to the international peace and stability as well as to overcoming this troubled chapter.
On behalf of Turkey, we wish him every success in his historic duty, which is a source of honour and pride for our nation”, concludes the Foreign Ministry./ibna