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      Home | Newsmakers

      Turkish diplomat elected president of 75th UN General Assembly

      By HONG XIAO at the United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-06-18 10:49

      Volkan Bozkir of Turkey was elected Wednesday as president of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which begins in September.

      As the sole candidate for the presidency, Bozkir, who has served in Turkey's foreign service for nearly 40 years, won unanimous support of the 178 UN member states that were present and voting.

      Bozkir will take over from Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the current General Assembly president, in September. A General Assembly presidency has a one-year term.

      To protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus, ambassadors from UN member states on Wednesday filed into the empty General Assembly Hall of the United Nations headquarters in New York to cast their ballots during predetermined time slots while wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing,

      Ambassadors also voted for five new countries to join the UN Security Council as nonpermanent members.

      The Security Council comprises five permanent members — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — and 10 nonpermanent member states that serve for two-year terms.

      While three countries vied for two seats allocated to African and Asia-Pacific States, only India was confirmed. Djibouti and Kenya face a second round of voting to be held Thursday.

      A similar competition occurred for the Western European and other States group, where Canada did not secure the required two-thirds majority, or 128 votes.

      Norway and Ireland will begin their terms starting in January, as will Mexico, representative for the Latin America and Caribbean region.

      Earlier this month, Bande wrote that because limitations on international travel and large in-person meetings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may still be in effect for a while, he suggested holding the General Debate and other meetings scheduled for September in a different format.

      He proposed that heads of state and government or ministers would be invited to address the General Debate via prerecorded video statements.

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