Afghanistan will not address the UN General Assembly

Former Afghan ambassador withdrew his name from list of speakers

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No representative from Afghanistan will address the annual UN General Assembly in New York after the ambassador for the government overthrown 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 group's spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is based in Doha, as Afghanistan's UN ambassador.

Ghulam Isaczai is the current UN ambassador, who represents deposed Afghanistan government of president Ashraf Ghani, and has also asked to renew his accreditation.

Mr Isaczai was scheduled to address the UN meeting on the final day of the gathering on Monday, but withdrew late on Sunday, diplomats said.

He 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 meeting.

UN accreditation issues are dealt with by a nine-member committee, with representatives from countries including the US, China and Russia. It traditionally meets in October or November.

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

Updated: September 27th 2021, 2:49 PM
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