Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quresh met with United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Volkan Bozkir of Turkish origin on Thursday
The situation in Palestine and occupied Kashmir, the Afghan peace process and matters of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting.
Welcoming Bozkir to the FO, FM Qureshi appreciated the UNGA president’s efforts in summoning an emergency session of the assembly over the Palestine issue. “The ceasefire was the first step towards halting Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, and there was success on this front,” he said.
The foreign minister also stressed the need to resolve the Palestine and Kashmir issues according to the UN Security Council resolutions.
“Peace in the Middle East will remain elusive without a permanent resolution to the Palestine issue,” he said. In the same way, peace can’t be established in South Asia without resolving the Kashmir issue, he added.
Commenting on the Afghan peace process, Qureshi said that Pakistan’s role as a mediator had been recognised at an international level.
He also appreciated the UNGA president’s ‘Vaccine for All’ initiative and said that getting immunised was necessary to defeat the virus.
According to FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudri, Bozkir reiterated the “UN position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is governed by the UN Charter and relevant UNSC resolutions, calling for a ‘free and impartial’ plebiscite under the UN auspices.”
The UNGA president also visited the National Defence University Pakistan and gave a speech on the importance of multilateralism.
Speaking at the university, Bozkir commended the government’s measures for social support during the Covid-19 pandemic and its strategy to tackle the pandemic, saying they had produced positive results.
He said the disbursement of emergency cash assistance prior to and during the pandemic to the most vulnerable citizens demonstrated how “developing countries can leapfrog into the digital era to support financial inclusion”.
The UNGA president also commended Prime Minister Imran Khan for highlighting the importance of illicit financial flows and praised the “professionalism and dedication” of the Pakistani military and law enforcement agencies serving in the UN’s peacekeeping operations
In a press release issued yesterday, the FO had said that Bozkir’s visit would lend an opportunity to showcase Pakistan’s active contributions to multilateralism and the central role of the UN in international affairs.
It had added that “Pakistan remains committed to supporting the United Nations General Assembly for the realisation of shared objectives of maintaining international peace and security; economic and social development; promotion and protection of human rights; peaceful settlement of international disputes; and developing friendly relations among nations based on the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, as enshrined in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.”
Bozkir, who is the first Turkish national to preside over the UNGA, had also visited Pakistan in August 2020, before assuming the role of the UNGA head. He is a former diplomat and a senior politician.
Following his 39-year-long diplomatic career in the Turkish foreign service, Bozkir was elected thrice as a member of the Turkish parliament and has served as the chairperson of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and minister for European Union Affairs.