Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid elected UNGA Prez defeating Afghan nominee

United Nations: In the electoral combat of two South Asian countries, Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has defeated Afghanistan's nominee to become the next President of the UN General Assembly.

Shahid, who was backed by India, received 143 votes to former Afghanistan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasoul's 48 in the elections held on Monday. He pledged a "presidency of hope" for a world struggling to recover from the devastation wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic. He will preside over the Assembly session that starts in September, succeeding Turkey's Volkan Bozkir.

The Security Council is scheduled to start the next big election exercise on Tuesday by endorsing Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a second term and sending the recommendation to the General Assembly.

After his election, Shahid told before media: "This has been a year of disease, despair and devastation. at a time like this when we move towards a new normal, as we look to rebuild communities, recover economies, rescue the planet we need to restore hope." He earlier told the Assembly that helping the world recover from the pandemic would be the important task ahead.

"My immediate priority will be recovering from Covid-19. Building on existing initiatives and approaches, I will be looking to address the health of our people and our economies."  Shahid was a career diplomat before entering politics. He was first elected to the Maldives Parliament in 2000 and became Speaker in 2009.

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