FS Shringla, UN chief discuss issues on UNSC’s agenda including Ukraine, Afghanistan
United Nations, March 24 (PTI): Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres here and discussed issues on the UN Security Council’s agenda, including evolving situation in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Shringla arrived in New York on Tuesday and participated in the UN Security Council briefing on cooperation between the UN and the League of Arab States held under the Council Presidency of UAE on Wednesday. The UNSC briefing was chaired by UAE Minister of State Khalifa Shaheen Almarar.
After the UNSC briefing, Shringla met Guterres at the UN headquarters.
Foreign Secretary @harshvshringla met UN Secretary General @antonioguterres at the UNHQs, New York. Discussed issues on the UN Security Council’s agenda, including Ukraine, Afghanistan and Myanmar, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
Sources said that Shringla’s meeting with Guterres lasted for about an hour and the two discussed the situation in Ukraine.
It is understood that Guterres said that a country like India has a very major role to play given that India is one of the few countries that commanded respect across the board and was able to reach out to both the sides over the current situation, which needs countries and leaders who can play a role in helping resolve the issue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held several phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and called for immediate cessation of violence as well as concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue.
Last week, Guterres had said that he was in close contact with a number of countries, including China, France, Germany, India, Israel and Turkey, on mediation efforts to bring an end to this war.
Sources added that the UN Secretary General was also concerned about the impact of the war on oil prices and food security as there will be countries who face serious challenges if the crisis continues.
They said Guterres felt that the UN could play a role to meet these challenges and India could also play a prominent role.
On the situation in Afghanistan, it is learnt that the UN chief was told that India was among the first countries to come forward and offer humanitarian assistance for the people of the war-torn country and provide medicines and other essential supplies, using UN agencies for distribution.
Sources said it was also underlined that international benchmarks had to be met, whether it was equal rights for women or issues related to terrorism and more representative and inclusive government.
Guterres is learnt to have voiced disappointment over the announcement by the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan that girls’ education from the sixth grade has been suspended until further notice.
Sources said that on Myanmar, which shares a border with India, it was pointed out that anything that happens in the country impacts India as well.
India’s engagement is linked to the humanitarian issue and also to encourage restoration of democracy, sources said.
It is understood that Guterres would ask his special envoy to be in touch with India, which as Myanmar’s neighbour has a vital role to play.
Guterres was positive on India’s role with regard to the UN and how engagement with India was critical for the UN to achieve its own objectives, sources added.
India’s extensive engagement was seen as being constructive with the UN Secretariat as well as in the Security Council in getting consensus on a number of issues.
Shringla’s visit to the UN came on a day when the UN General Assembly resumed its 11th Emergency Special Session on Ukraine and had before it two draft resolutions on the humanitarian crisis in the Eastern European country in the wake of the Russian invasion.
Hours after Shringla participated in the UNSC briefing on the League of Arab States, the 15-nation Council voted on a Russian-led draft resolution on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
India, along with 12 other Council members abstained on the resolution, which got two votes in favour (Russia and China) and none against. The resolution failed to get adopted.
Shringla also met Under Secretary General, Department of Operational Support at United Nations Atul Khare.
As one of the largest troop contributing countries to UN Peacekeeping Operations, reaffirmed India’s steadfast commitment to UN Peacekeeping, the MEA spokesperson tweeted.
Shringla held discussions with Almarar on the sidelines of the UNSC meeting. He congratulated him on the UAE’s successful Presidency of the Council and adoption of the Presidential Statement by UNSC on UN-LAS cooperation.
He also held excellent discussions on further strengthening bilateral ties between India and the UAE, the MEA added.