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PM to attend UNGA next week

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the United Nations General Assembly session next week in New York.



New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the United Nations General Assembly session next week in New York where India`s priority will be on reforms of the powerful Security Council to reflect the current realities.

Leaving on September 21 for participating in the high-level segment of the 66th session of the UNGA, India along with other members of the G4 (Brazil, Japan and Germany) will work to push for reforms of the UNSC at the earliest for a robust international security and peacekeeping operations.

The G4 members are keen on getting permanent membership of the UNSC.

He will be accompanied by a delegation that will include External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and Principal Secretary to the PM TKA Nair.

Briefing reporters on the visit, Mathai said Singh would be addressing the UNGA on September 24 and that India`s priority in the current session would be on working for reforms of the UN Security Council that should be reflective of current realities.

Singh would be attending the UNGA after a gap of two years. He had last addressed the 2008 session. He ruled out any meeting between the Prime Minister and US President Barack Obama, who would leave New York before Singh`s arrival there on September 22, or with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who has reportedly cancelled his visit because of flood situation his country.

The G4 would carry forward the discussions held at the official level in Tokyo sometime ago on the issue of UNSC reforms.

India feels that unless comprehensive reform of the UNSC is undertaken the process of UN reforms would be "piecemeal and incomplete".

Mathai said the Prime Minister will have bilateral meetings with a number of Heads of Government who will be in New York for the UNGA.

There will be a meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) leaders in which there will be a discussion on economic issues.

"Beyond that I don`t think there will be any occasion for discussing a specific issue," Mathai said in reply to a question whether the Prime Minister would discuss with Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao the issue of incursion in Ladakh or its opposition to joint exploration of oil and gas in South China by India and Vietnam.

Mathai said the UNGA session was taking place at a time of continuing global economic and financial uncertainties with food and fuel prices at their peak whose impact developing countries were feeling.

As a key emerging major economy playing a constructive role in contributing to global economic recovery, India will reaffirm its commitment to working with the UN on furthering global economic and fiscal stability and balanced growth.

India would continue to focus attention of the UN on poverty eradication as the foremost developmental challenge and the need to foster and sustain inclusive growth as a primary requirement for poverty eradication.

"It is imperative that the international community joins hands to ensure that every effort is made to attain the Millennium Development Goals by 2015," Mathai said.

Mathai said India would call for greater mobilisation of resources, including honouring of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) commitments, and policy action for attaining the MDGs.

"We will also actively engage with UN Member States on human rights issues and to strengthen the UN’s humanitarian operations," he said.

Mathai said India remains a votary of a robust UN role in maintenance of international peace and security, including through its peacekeeping operations and political processes.

"India has remained steadfast in its commitment to universal, non-discriminatory and total nuclear disarmament. Consistent with our concerns on terrorism and clandestine proliferation, we will emphasise the immediacy of effective measures to deny terrorists, possible access to WMD material," he said.

Mathai said India will also be actively participating in the UN high level event on Nuclear Safety and Security which will be held on September 22.

He said the recent terrorist attack in New Delhi has once again served as a reminder of the constant threat posed by terrorism to the security of democratic societies and wellbeing of its citizens.

Referring to India heading the Security Council’s Committee on Counter-Terrorism, he said at a special meeting on September 28 India will reiterate the need for strong international cooperation and collective action against terrorism.

"We have time and again insisted on full compliance by all states of their obligations under various UN Resolutions and mechanisms on counter-terrorism. We will also push for an early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that will provide a global normative framework against terrorism," Mathai said.

On the sidelines of the UNGA, Krishna will represent India at a series of high-level meetings including the annual Commonwealth Foreign Ministers` meetings (Sept 22), BRICS Ministerial Meeting (Sept 23), G77 Foreign Ministers` meetings
(Sept 23), IBSA Ministerial Meeting (Sept 23), meeting with Extended Troika of the Rio Group (Sept 26) and TIndia-Gulf Cooperation Council Political Dialogue (Sept 27).

PTI

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