Ugandan FM elected UN General Assembly president

Updated: 2014-06-12 10:06


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UNITED NATIONS - Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa was elected president of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) here on Wednesday.

The presidency rotates on an annual basis with a different regional grouping providing a candidate or candidates. Kutesa was chosen unanimously by the African Union as the only candidate for the presidency of the 69th Session.

"This is not only a sign of your collective trust and confidence in me, personally, but also recognition of the contribution made by my country, Uganda," Kutesa said after his election.

"I will endeavor to guide the work of the Assembly in an effective manner. My pledge to you all is my firm commitment to be accessible, transparent, fair and balanced, and I count on your support and cooperation," he said.

The president-elect will assume office at the start of the 69th Session in September, replacing John William Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, who now leads the current plenary session of the 193 UN member states.

Born on Feb 1, 1949, Kutesa is a Ugandan lawyer and politician. He is the current foreign minister in the Ugandan Cabinet, a position he has held since Jan. 13, 2005. He was previously the Minister of State for Investment in Uganda.

Offering his congratulations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Kutesa brings "wide-ranging experience" to the job, including lawyer, parliamentarian, finance minister and foreign minister.

"The 69th session will be a period of great consequence for the well-being and shared fate of people and the planet," he said. "I look forward to working with the new President of the Assembly and with all Member States to do our part to end extreme poverty and set the world on a peaceful, just and sustainable path."

The current UNGA president, Ashe, also praised Kutesa's significant experience and an extensive background in politics, law and the private sector. Ashe said he and his team will continue to work with Kutesa so as to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations. It is composed of representatives of all 193 member states, each of which has one vote.

The 69th Session will open on Sept 16 and will be followed a week later by the General Debate, the largest annual meeting of world leaders and senior government officials.