Imran Khan to address UNGA on Sept 25, Modi next day

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NEW YORK: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the landmark 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) via video-link on September 25. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to speak on Sept. 26, a day after the Pakistani leader’s address. “His narration would likely be rejoinder to Imran Khna’s speech”, the sources said.

PM Imran Khan

The high-level general debate of the 193-member assembly in which the Pakistani leader will speak, traditionally a high-profile annual UN event, will open on September 22. But this year, it is expected to be a slimmed-down affair, with world leaders staying away from New York because of the coronavirus pandemic. They will be contributing set-piece speeches via video link.

According to an initial list of speakers officially released on Tuesday, Imran Khan, who last year made his debut at the UN as head of state, is the 6th speaker in the afternoon session. He will highlight the prevailing tense situation in South Asia, Pak bitter relations with neighbour India, Kashmir issue and other issues of serious concern.

Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram confirmed in New York that he believes that Prime minister Imran Khan will once again raise the cause of the Kashmiri people for self-determination and freedom from Indian oppression.”

He said that the prime minister will also talk about Pakistan’s facilitation of and hopes for the peace process in Afghanistan, its successful response to the coronavirus crisis, debt relief for developing countries and other international issues in his wide-ranging address.

US President Donald Trump is set to address on the morning of September 22, the opening day of the general debate, which will run through Sept 29. The US is traditionally the second speaker in the high-level debate, after Brazil.

The President of the General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, said last month that each Member State, Observer State, and the European Union, was invited to submit a pre-recorded video, delivered by its designated high-level official, which will be played in the General Assembly Hall. Speeches will be limited to 15 minutes.

Ahead of the 75th session, Ambassador Akram on Aug. 21 met with the President-elect of the UN General Assembly, VolkanBozkir, and discussed the items inscribed on the Assembly’s agenda. Bozkir, a veteran Turkish diplomat, will assume the office as UNGA President on September 15, the day the 75th session gets underway.