Islamabad, Pakistan: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi arrived in New York on September 20th to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The Foreign Minister attended the opening session of the 76th session of the UNGA on September 21, 2021.
FM Qureshi addressed the Council on Foreign Relations on 21 September 2021. He spoke about Pakistan-US relations as well as the situation in Afghanistan.
On 21 September, the Foreign Minister attended the D8 Council of Ministers Forum.
On the same day the FM had an extensive media interaction and addressed the Pakistani-American community in New York.
On 22 September 2021, FM Qureshi met High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell. The two leaders had an in-depth discussion on Pakistan-EU relations, including the strategic partnership. Afghanistan related cooperation and way forward were also discussed.
On 22 September 2021, FM Qureshi also addressed a virtual forum on ‘How changing water availability from ice and snow will impact our societies’.
On 23 September 2021 , the Foreign Minister had a detailed meeting with US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. A wide-ranging discussion was held covering bilateral relations and the situation in Afghanistan. The US side expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s evacuation related assistance.
The same day, the Foreign Minister chaired a meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir. It was the only contact group meeting held on the sidelines of the 76th UNGA. It brought together Foreign Ministers of Contact Group member states who expressed concern at the human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK).
On September 23, 2021 the Foreign Minister attended and spoke at the “Uniting for Consensus” Ministerial Meeting.
The same day, FM Qureshi also had a dinner interaction with leading Pakistani-American investors and entrepreneurs.
Other engagements of the Foreign minister on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly included meetings with:
-US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad (September 21, 2021);
-President International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer (September 22, 2021);
-UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi (September 22, 2021);
-UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres ( September 24, 2021); and
-President General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid (September 25, 2021).
During these interactions, the Foreign minister, inter Alia, highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to avert a humanitarian tragedy in Afghanistan. He called upon his interlocutors to provide while hearted assistance to Afghanistan.
FM Qureshi had bilateral meetings with his counterparts from various countries including:
1. Austria (September 22, 2021)
2. Belgium (September 24, 2021)
3. Egypt (September 21, 2021)
4. Finland (September 23, 2021)
5. Indonesia (September 24, 2021)
6. Ireland (September 21, 2021)
7. Japan (September 23, 2021)
8. Norway (September 21, 2021)
9. Portugal (September 21, 2021)
10. Qatar (September 22, 2021)
11. Romania (September 24, 2021)
12. Saudi Arabia (September 23, 2021)
13. Slovenia (September 22, 2021)
14. Sweden (September 24, 2021)
15. Turkey (September 23, 2021)
On September 24, 2021, the Foreign Minister spoke to Pakistani media representatives in New York and briefed them on Pakistan’s position on important issues, including the emerging situation in Afghanistan.
The Foreign Minister also spoke with other eminent media entities including the New York Times (September 24, 2021), TRT World (September 20, 2021), Al Jazeera (September 24, 2021), UN Correspondents (September 21, 2021)
and the Associated Press (September 22, 2021). He also had a virtual discussion with the Foreign Press Association (International Press) (September 21, 2021).
The highlight of the Foreign Minister visit was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s virtual address to the high level segment of the 76th UNGA on 24 September 2021. During his speech, the Prime Minister covered important issues including:
2. Climate Change;
4. Illicit financial flows;
5. Indian atrocities in IIOJK; and
6. Situation in l’Afghanistan.
During his stay in New York, the Foreign Minister also held an interaction with Senator James Risch, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Virtual) on 23 September 2021.
The Foreign Minister’s visit was highly successful, extensively covered and drew praise from different quarters.