No one from Afghanistan will address world leaders at UN

Move comes amid competing claims for Afghanistan's UN seat in New York after the Taliban seized power last month


Reuters September 27, 2021
The UN General Assembly Hall is empty before the start of the SDG Moment event as part of the UN General Assembly 76th session General Debate at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, US, September 20, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS:

No representative from Afghanistan will address the annual high-level UN General Assembly in New York after the ambassador for the government ousted by the Taliban - who was due to speak on Monday - withdrew his name.

The move comes amid competing claims for Afghanistan's UN seat in New York after the Taliban seized power last month.

Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi last week asked to address the gathering of world leaders at the United Nations and nominated the Islamist group's Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's UN ambassador.

Read more: Global aid will give Taliban reason to honour promises: PM Imran

Ghulam Isaczai is the current UN ambassador, who represents Afghanistan's government ousted by the Taliban, and has also asked to renew his accreditation. He was scheduled to address the final day of the high-level UN gathering on Monday, but withdrew late on Sunday, diplomats said.

Isaczai did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rival claims have also been made for Myanmar's UN seat after a military coup in February ousted the elected government. No representative from Myanmar will address the high-level General Assembly meeting.

Also read: Taliban ready to meet world’s demands, envoys told

UN accreditation issues are dealt with by a nine-member committee, whose members include the United States, China and Russia. It traditionally meets in October or November.

Until a decision is made by the credentials committee on both Afghanistan and Myanmar, Isaczai and Myanmar's UN envoy representing the ousted government, Kyaw Moe Tun, will remain in the seats, according to the General Assembly rules.

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