Gabon’s Foreign Minister elected President of next General Assembly session

Gabon’s Foreign Minister elected President of next General Assembly session

Foreign Minister of Gabon Jean Ping
Foreign Minister Jean Ping of Gabon was elected today to preside over the fifty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly, which is scheduled to open on 14 September.

All 191 UN Member States are represented in the Assembly, which, as the world body’s main deliberative organ, tackles everything from broad security and development concerns to budgetary and administrative matters.

Following his election, Mr. Ping, who will succeed outgoing President Julian R. Hunte of St. Lucia, said the decision crowned Gabon’s participation for some 50 years in the UN’s noble mission to build a more caring world in which future generations would be freed from the ravages of war and underdevelopment.

Supporting the President this year will be Vice-Presidents from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ghana, Zambia, Bangladesh, Iran, Kazakhstan, Syria, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Antigua and Barbuda, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Australia and Belgium, the Assembly decided.

The five permanent member of the Security Council – China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States – are automatically accorded seats as Vice-Presidents.

In another action, the Assembly’s main committees also elected their presiding officers for the next session, with the Disarmament and International Security (First) Committee choosing Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba from Mexico as Chairman, and the Economic and Financial (Second) Committee electing the Deputy Permanent Representative of Peru, Marco Balarezo, as its Chairman.

The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (Third) Committee chose Ambassador Valery Kuchinsky of Ukraine to lead it during the next session, while the Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee elected Ambassador Kyaw Tint Swe of Myanmar its Chairman.

Ambassador Don Mackay of New Zealand was elected to lead the Administrative and Budgetary (Fifth) Committee and Ambassador Mohamed Bennouna of Morocco was chosen to head the Legal (Sixth) Committee.

The Assembly had amended its rules of procedure to allow for early elections in a bid to “create the conditions for a smooth transition between the two sessions of the General Assembly,” said Michèle Montas, spokeswoman for Mr. Hunte.

The Assembly’s annual General Debate, which brings together presidents and prime ministers from across the globe, is scheduled to begin on 21 September. Nearly 75 national leaders have already confirmed their attendance, according to Ms. Montas.