Congratulatory messages have poured in as the international community welcomes the election of former Turkish Ambassador Volkan Bozkır as the United Nations General Assembly president ahead of the historic 75th General Debate in September.
The European Union Thursday congratulated Bozkır on his election as the 75th president of the U.N. General Assembly.
The EU's foreign policy chief issued a statement about the election of the Turkish diplomat and the five new nonpermanent members of the U.N. Security Council. "With these elections comes responsibility. The European Union looks forward to working with all to address global challenges in these uncertain times and to support international peace and security," wrote Josep Borrell, the high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy.
Bozkır is the first Turkish national to head the General Assembly. He will take office in September and hold the post for one year.
The Libyan Foreign Ministry also congratulated Turkey on Thursday. In a telephone call, Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala congratulated his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the recent election of Bozkır, according to a statement from the ministry.
Pakistan’s spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, Aisha Farooqui, Thursday congratulated the new General Assembly president saying, “We warmly congratulate Ambassador Volkan Bozkır of Turkey on his election as the president of the 75th session of United Nations General Assembly.”
Malaysia also conveyed its congratulatory message. The country's foreign minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, extended his "warmest congratulations" to Çavuşoğlu for Bozkır being elected.
"Congratulations also to all the newly elected members of the UNSC & ECOSOC. Malaysia looks forward to working closely with all of you," Hussein said on Twitter.
In a secret ballot, Bozkır, who was unopposed for the post, received 178 votes in support as 11 nations abstained Wednesday.
"I am thankful to all UN member states, for electing me with an overwhelming majority, as the President of the 75th UN General Assembly," Bozkır said on Twitter. "As we mark the 75th anniversary of the UN, I will guide the efforts to contribute to international peace, in the challenging times we live in."
Venezuela also welcomed the election of Bozkır.
"We congratulate Ambassador Volkan Bozkır @volkan_bozkir of Turkey, elected to preside over the historic 75th Session of the UN General Assembly," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted late Wednesday. "We are certain that it will keep the Assembly running smoothly and further strengthen collective decisions," he added.
Arreaza also congratulated the new nonpermanent member states of the Security Council – India, Mexico, Norway and Ireland – while retweeting a post saying that Canada lost its election bid to be a member of the U.N. Security Council.
Venezuela's vice-minister for North American relations, Carlos Ron, said the addition of new members met the expectations of "an independent voice."
"Not surprised with UN Security Council election results today," Ron said on Twitter. "A subservient foreign policy may win you Trump's favor, but the peoples of the world expect an independent voice that will stand for diplomacy, respect for self-determination, and peace."
Gismat Gozalov, the deputy secretary-general of the Cooperation Council of Turkic States, congratulated Bozkır, noting that his election has become a source of pride, not just for Turkic Council states and Turkey, but for the entire Turkic world.
Kashmiri diaspora hopeful
Another warm message came from the Kashmiri diaspora in the U.S. as they expressed their trust that Bozkır will promote justice for Kashmiris during his tenure.
Addressing his remarks to Bozkır, Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, wrote Thursday, "If the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir had the freedom to express their sentiments, you would no doubt have heard their loud voice rejoicing at the fact that the distinguished representative of brother country – Turkey – is presiding this year over the parliament of nations."
Citing the U.N. Charter and Security Council resolutions on Kashmir, Fai requested Bozkır "exercise your good offices to mediate between Pakistan and India for promoting a solution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council."
There are 20 U.N. resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir that include seeking a plebiscite in the disputed region to decide its political future.
Fai said the resolutions were "meticulously" negotiated between the parties, India and Pakistan, and accepted by each. "They thus embody a solemn international agreement," he added. "They were endorsed repeatedly by the Security Council and by successive United Nations representatives."
Fai, an advocate for Kashmir for four decades, said the U.N. resolutions "explicitly recognize the right of the people of Kashmir to determine the future status of their homeland."
He thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan "for giving hope" to Kashmiris.
"Turkey is in favor of resolving the Kashmir issue by taking into consideration the expectations of our Kashmiri brothers, through dialogue based on U.N. resolutions," he said.
He said he trusted Bozkır would bring his "immense influence to bear on initiating a peace process, which will lead to a speedy, just, and honorable settlement of the dispute and restore their inalienable rights to the people of Jammu & Kashmir."
Bozkır is currently a ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lawmaker from Istanbul and the head of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.
He was elected to the Turkish legislature in 2011 following nearly 40 years in the foreign service that included posts in Germany, New York, Baghdad and Romania.
In the 2000s, he was Turkey's ambassador to the EU and worked as deputy secretary-general and secretary-general for EU affairs in the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Bozkır also served as Turkey's minister for EU Affairs and chief negotiator for EU accession between 2014 and 2016.
Turkey announced its candidacy in 2014 from the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) and Bozkır was officially nominated for the position on Sept. 12, 2019. Erdoğan formally declared his candidacy in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 17, 2019.
The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the U.N. It provides a forum to discuss international affairs for all its 193 member nations.
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