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Officials could hold a personal general assembly to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic



However, several diplomats have said their countries are reluctant to meet so soon – especially in the US, where the virus that causes the disease continues to spread widely.

Officials could hold a personal general assembly to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic

File image by Antonio Guterres. Reuters

United Nations officials are expecting a personal general assembly in New York to discuss the Covid-1

9 pandemic before the end of the year, the panel’s president, Volkan Bozkir, said Tuesday.

The special session could take place as early as the first week of November, said the former Turkish minister during a press conference.

However, several diplomats have said their countries are reluctant to meet so soon – especially in the US, where the virus that causes the disease continues to spread widely.

Negotiations were underway to move the date to the first week of December, according to the same diplomats.

Bozkir is keen to start face-to-face UN meetings as soon as possible, which have been videoconferencing since March. Such a summit should have taken place “in June”.

“Political timing is important,” he said.

“As long as health conditions permit, I intend to continue the physical sessions of the General Assembly and take the necessary mitigation measures to protect the health and safety of delegates and UN staff,” Bozkir said.

“In our diplomatic business, there is no substitute for meeting colleagues face-to-face to build a long-term understanding of each other’s positions and compromise,” he added.

Bozkir said a dozen heads of state – including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – had planned to speak in person at the United Nations next week.

But the US quarantine rules “made it impossible for any leader to be physically present at the general assembly,” Bozkir said.

He said he didn’t know if US President Donald Trump – who said he wanted to speak in person


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