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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Maldives wins the UN battle


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The 76th United Nations General Assembly seat upheld by Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid with a clear majority against Afghanistan’s candidate Zalmai Rassoul.

The outcomes of the United Nations General Assembly elections were declared on Monday with the island of the Maldives taking the lead this time.

Maldives foreign minister Abdullah Shahid was elected as the 76th President of the UNGA with an overwhelming three-fourth majority. Shahid won with 143 seats out of the total of 191 ballots while the rest 48 seats were swept away by Afghanistan’s former Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul.

Since India shares exceptional bilateral relations with both the nations- Maldives and Afghanistan, India chose to vote for the Maldives on Monday for the post of President of UNGA 2021.

The United Nations General Assembly President elections happen once a year and thus the President holds the seat for a year. This post is rotated among various regional groupings. The 76th session came with the needle pointing to the Asia-Pacific group.

The Maldives announced its candidature of Abdullah Shahid in December 2018 and since then no other candidature was seen in the battle.

An Indian diplomat at the United Nations who extended its support to the Maldives has said “FM Shahid is eminently qualified to hold the PGA, with vast diplomatic experience and strong credentials, especially in the multilateral fora.”

Afghanistan in a rush in January 2021 announced its candidature of Zalmai Rassoul for the seat, just less than 6 months before the elections.

India extended its support to the Maldives Foreign Minister while the Indian Foreign Secretary was on a visit to the island in November 2020. At that moment only Abdullah Shahid was the player on the field.

By the time when Rassoul’s candidature was announced, he even had strong credentials but with a huge time lag Maldives till then had amassed huge support from across.

This was the very first time when Maldives stood for the post in UNGA elections while Afghanistan had held the post of PGA during the 21st General Assembly sessions in 1966-67.

On the victory of Maldives Foreign minister Abdullah Shahid with a clear majority in the UNGA, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar congratulated him.




A source said, “Both Maldives and Afghanistan have excellent relations with India, and both candidates are friends of India. However, since India had already committed its support to the Maldives at a time when no other candidate was in the fray, India voted in favor of Maldives.”

It further said, “India remains committed to supporting the office of PGA, as it has consistently done in previous years.”

The post of PGA holds great significance in the United Nations as it reflects the collective goodwill of 193 UN member nations.

Notably, Maldives had asked for an Indian diplomat; India’s Deputy Permanent Representative at the United Nations K Nagaraj Naidu in New York to hold the office as chief of staff.

Before the 76th elections, during the tenure of the 75th year, the Turkish diplomat and politician Volkan Bozkir held the position. A week before on his visit to Islamabad Bozkir had said that Pakistan is “duty-bound” to raise the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in the UN more strongly. India in response sharply called it “unacceptable” and said that his “behavior is truly regrettable and surely diminishes his standing on the global platform”.

Since India strongly upholds its voice on the international level, and never forgets to express her gratitude, the move by firmly standing with the Maldives will surely strengthen the relations between the two nations.

[author title=”Shreya Gohel” image=”http://localhost/gc2/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/20210127_014031.jpg”]Journalist, Goa Chronicle

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