Male: Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has been elected as the President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on Monday, securing 143 votes out of the 191 ballots cast.
A 193-member General Assembly casted their votes to elect the President, who will preside over the 76th session of the UN body which is set to commence in September.
This is also the first time Maldives will be occupying the office of the PGA. In December 2018, the Maldives had made Shahid’s candidature for the Asia-Pacific Group’s turn for the session which is set to commence on September 14, with no other candidate was in the fray.
The Maldives Foreign Minister is eminently qualified to hold the office of PGA, with wide diplomatic experience and strong credentials, especially in the multilateral fora, according to sources.
India revealed its support for Shahid during the visit of Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla to the Maldives in November 2020. Even during that time, Shringla was the only candidate in the fray, as per sources.
S Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister of India, also conveyed his felicitations to the Maldives FM on this accomplishment.
“Heartiest felicitations to Foreign Minister of Maldives @abdulla_shahid on his election as President for 76th UN General Assembly,” he said.
“This is a testimony as much to his own stature as to the standing of Maldives. We look forward to working with him to strengthen multilateralism and its much-needed reforms,” the minister added.
In January 2021, in a surprising development, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul also entered the fray. According to reports, while Rassoul had strong credentials, however, Maldives had already garnered extensive support.
Furthermore, while Afghanistan did held this post during the 21st GA session in 1966-67, Maldives has never held the office of PGA.
In February, Jaishankar stated that the Maldivian Foreign Minister is “best equipped” to be the President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.
“I reiterate today India’s strong support to the candidature of Foreign Minster Abdulla Shahid for President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly next year. Foreign Minister Shahid, with his vast diplomatic experience and his leadership qualities, is, in our view, the best equipped to preside over the General Assembly of 193 nations of the world,” Jaishankar said at the Joint Conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs.