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UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis to visit India

UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis is to visit India later this month after attending the Nonaligned and Group of 77 summits in Uganda, according to his spokesperson Monica Grayley.

She told reporters on Tuesday that he is scheduled to visit India and China after his trip from January 17 to 21 to Kampala for the summits. The itinerary for the India visit was not immediately available.

Security Council reform, South-South Cooperation and the UN’s sustainable development goals are likely to figure in his interactions with officials in India. During the trip, Francis will be accompanied by his Chef de Cabinet Collen Vixen Kelapile.

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Francis, a career diplomat from Trinidad who was elected Assembly president last year, will highlight at the summits in Kampala “that at a time of unprecedented crises, the combined voice of the Global South is needed much more”, Grayley said.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will be representing India at the two summits. Francis has expressed the need for moving ahead with the deadlocked reform of the Security Council, which is of importance to India.

“Our objective must be to find and/or create ways to move beyond a perpetual stalemate” as the need of the hour is for “a Council that is more balanced, more representative, more responsive, more democratic, and more transparent”, he said at a roundtable on the reform co-sponsored by India last month. Francis has expressed appreciation for India’s development efforts across the Global South.

At a meeting in November lasy year, he said the India UN Development Fund’s contribution “is no small feat, especially in this age of shrunken fiscal spaces, compounded by the impacts of pandemic and other global shocks in recent years”. In his country, he said, “it supports innovative, Southern-owned and led demand-driven sustainable development projects”.

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