PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR

PRESIDENT GETS 2nd DOSE OF COVID-19 VACCINE 

  • The President received the second dose of his COVID-19 vaccine this morning at the Javits Center in New York. He was given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 
  • He applied online for his vaccine through the New York State Department of Health. He was eligible because he lives in New York State and is over the age of 65. 
  • Following his vaccination, he said he felt fortunate. And he called on all Member States to mobilize the distribution of vaccines for everyone, everywhere. In that regard, he highlighted his #Vaccines4All initiative. 
  • He also encouraged others to get vaccinated when they could – in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  

PRESIDENT WELCOMES INDIA-PAKISTAN CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT 

  • The President said today that he wholeheartedly welcomes today’s ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan.  
  • He added that their stated commitment to achieve sustainable peace through addressing each other’s core issues and concerns sets an example for other countries and demonstrates the General Assembly’s values. 

FINANCIAL INTEGRITY PARAMOUNT TO SUCCESS OF 2030 AGENDA 

  • The President sent a video message this morning to a virtual event to launch the Financial Integrity for Sustainable Development Report. That report is by the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda – otherwise known as the FACTI Panel.   
  • In his remarks, the President said that financial integrity is paramount to the success of the 2030 Agenda. 
  • He added, “As an international community committed to addressing inequality and advancing sustainable development, we must put in place the very principles of transparency, sound governance, and accountability that we so often champion. Failure to do so denies vulnerable people access to basic infrastructure and services and condemns them to a life of inequality and poverty.” 

NIGERIA: PRESIDENT CONDEMNS TERROR ATTACK 

  • Yesterday afternoon, the President strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Maiduguri, Nigeria, which left 10 dead, including children, and 47 injured.  
  • He expressed hope that the shameless perpetrators would be swiftly apprehended and brought to justice. He added that the General Assembly will always stand united against terrorism. 

MYANMAR: SPECIAL ENVOY TO BRIEF GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOMORROW 

  • Tomorrow morning at 10:00, the President will convene an informal meeting of the General Assembly, to hear a briefing by the Special Envoy on Myanmar. This follows a request from a group of Member States and consultations with the Special Envoy. 
  • This briefing is also pursuant to General Assembly resolution 75/238 on the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar. That resolution “requests the Secretary-General … to provide all assistance necessary to enable the Special Envoy on Myanmar… to report to Member States every six months, or as warranted by the situation on the ground”. 
  • The meeting will be webcast at webtv.un.org. 
  • Asked if the Special Envoy would be the only briefer, the Spokesperson said that the President would deliver remarks, but the idea was for the Special Envoy to indeed be the only substantive briefer. No other individuals were scheduled to provide briefings.  
  • In response to a further question, the Spokesperson clarified that the Special Envoy would be briefing virtually and would be seen and heard in the General Assembly Hall. 

PRESIDENT GETS LETTER FROM PORTUGAL, NOMINATING ANTÓNIO GUTERRES FOR 2nd TERM 

  • Asked for updates on the selection and appointment process for the position of Secretary-General, the Spokesperson confirmed that the President had received a letter from the Prime Minister of Portugal, nominating António Guterres for a second term.  
  • Replying to additional questions, the Spokesperson noted that it was Member States that traditionally nominated candidates. That was the precedent. 
  • Responding to further inquiries, the Spokesperson said that the President would continue to be guided by General Assembly resolution 69/321; that it was up to Member States to interpret resolutions; and that the President’s goal was to conduct a fair, transparent and inclusive process.