PM Abbasi all set to attend crucial UNGA session


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is all set to leave for New York on Saturday to attend the 72nd Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly (GA) in New York commencing from September 18.

This would be the first interaction of PM Abbasi with several heads of states after being elected to the top slot. A delegation comprising cabinet members and top bureaucrats of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would accompany the prime minister who is all set to open a new dialogue with senior US officials.

Tensions had arisen between former allies and strategic partners in the war against terrorism, after the speech of US President Donald Trump following the review of US policy on Afghanistan. Pakistan responded with equally strong diplomatic moves by cutting off a dialogue with the State Department and going for a review of its foreign policy with a special focus on its relations with the US and its Afghan policy.

A well-placed source told Pakistan Today that the PM is likely to hold meetings with several heads of states on the sidelines of the UNGA session while contacts with the State Department were also going to be made on future talks.

The official said that an advance delegation led by Ministry of Foreign Affairs UN DG had departed for New York while other officials would accompany the prime minister including foreign minister Khwaja Asif.

“On the sidelines of the GA session, the prime minister will hold bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders and the UN secretary-general. The PM will address the Council on Foreign Relations and will interact with the Pakistan US Business Council. The prime minister will also have extensive interaction with the international media,” an official statement said.

The annual session of the GA has special significance as it is attended by a large number of heads of state and governments. The theme of this year’s session is ‘Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet’.

According to the officials, on the margins of the session, ministerial-level meetings of many regional and sub-regional organisations will be held, including OIC, G-77, ECO, SAARC, Commonwealth, D-8 and others. There will also be a meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir.

“Pakistan is a great advocate of multilateralism and the UN to promote collective responses to the multifaceted challenges of global peace, security and development. We would continue our constructive role and engagement at the UN with a view to protect and promote our national interests, including on core issues such as Jammu and Kashmir, reform of the Security Council, counter-terrorism, human rights, peacekeeping, and a host of development and other matters,” the statement added.