PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR
PRESIDENT URGES G20 TO HELP ENABLE VACCINES FOR ALL, CONSIDER DEBT RESTRUCTURING & BOLSTER U.N.
- This morning there is an informal meeting of the plenary to hear a briefing from the Group of 20 (G20).
- The G20 Sherpa of Italy, Ambassador Luigi Mattiolo, is briefing the General Assembly virtually on the Group’s priorities.
- In his remarks, the President had a number of messages for the G20.
- For example, he said, “As the largest and most advanced economies, the G20 must continue to demonstrate leadership and to provide support to multilateral initiatives that enable vaccines for all.”
- He also said that establishing a debt restructuring mechanism and cancelling debt in some cases should be considered. That would be especially important for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
- Meanwhile, flagging the UN’s own financial constraints, he called upon the G20, as major financial contributors, to help bolster the UN system.
INTERACTIVE DIALOGUES TO BE HELD FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
- Regarding the election of the next President of the General Assembly, the current President wrote to Member States last night to convey details on the expected informal interactive dialogues with the candidates. Those dialogues will be held on 6 May in the General Assembly Hall.
- They will be organized as question-and-answer sessions, which will follow up on the candidates’ vision statements. In addition to questions from Member States, there may be some from other stakeholders as well. Those would be selected from questions received through the President’s website in advance.
- As a reminder, the President of the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly will be elected from the Group of Asia-Pacific States. Elections will be held on 7 June. There are currently two candidates, who are from Afghanistan and Maldives.
- More information is available at: https://www.un.org/pga/75/pga76-election/
- Asked if stakeholder questions could come from the media, the Spokesperson said he understood “stakeholder” to refer to civil society. However, he later added that, as questions would be solicited from the public, those could come from individuals or organizations. In that regard, it could be possible for a journalist to submit a question. Of course, the President’s Office would not be able to guarantee that a question would make the short list or be asked during the dialogue.
PRESIDENT TO LEAVE TONIGHT ON TRIP TO TURKEY. QATAR & AZERBAIJAN
- The President will be departing tonight on his first official trip of the session.
- He will visit Turkey, Qatar and Azerbaijan.
- In Ankara, he will be received by the President of Turkey and hold separate meetings with the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
- He will also deliver remarks to the Grand National Assembly and meet with the United Nations Country Team.
- While in Turkey, he will also travel to the southern province of Hatay to meet with Syrian refugees and visit the United Nations cross-border humanitarian mechanism.
- In Doha, the President is expected to be received by the Emir of Qatar and plans to meet separately with Qatar’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.
- In Baku, the President is expected to be received by the President of Azerbaijan and hold separate meetings with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Chair of the Parliament.
- The Spokesperson noted that, as he would be traveling with the President, the President’s Deputy Spokesperson, Amy Quantrill, would be handling next week’s press briefings.
Coordination: Asked when the next coordination meeting between the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council would be held, the Spokesperson later said that, given the President’s upcoming travels, the meeting would have to be held during the second half of April. There was no confirmed date yet.
Security Council reform: Asked whether the President would appoint a new co-chair for the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform, now that the Polish Permanent Representative would be leaving her post, the Spokesperson later said that it was up to the President to decide whether or not to appoint a new co-chair. There had been years where there was only one IGN chair in the past. The Spokesperson had no further information on this at this time. In response to a related question, he later clarified that co-chairs were appointed in their personal capacities.