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Qatar to Chair UN General Assembly During PA Bid

As the Palestinian Authority advances plans to seek a unilateral declaration of statehood from the UN, Qatar is set to chair the General Assembly.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 5/19/2011, 4:47 PM / Last Update: 5/19/2011, 11:45 PM

Nasr Abdul Aziz al Nassir, the head of Qatar's permanent mission to the United Nations, has been endorsed by Asian member-countries to be president of the 66th United Nations General Assembly, Qatar News Agency reports.

Al Nassir's endorsement comes as Palestinian Authority leaders continue their unilateral tack, seeking UN recognition of a PA state based on 1948 armistice lines when the General Assembly convenes in September.

QNA described al Nassir's "a testimony to the growing stature of Qatar in the world today."

Al Nassir, speaking on Qatar Foundation radio, said he expected to be formally elected in mid-June as the president of the 66th session of the General Assembly. He would officially assume his year-long position on September 14.

Al Nassir's election is little more than a formality as the Arab League, Organization of African Unity, and Asian Muslim nations traditionally vote in tandem. The endorsement of other Asian nations gives Al Nassir a certain majority.

Al Nassir was pitted against the current adviser of Nepal's prime minister, but he won a secret vote held by the Group of Asian State Members.

"The 66th session is one of the most defining in the United Nation's history and has a number of complicated issues on the agenda, with disarmament being the foremost," he said.

Nassir noted three issues, other than the United Nations perennial budget concerns, he wished to address: the re-drafting and expansion of the security council, reaching international consensus on a definition of terrorism, and a solution for what he termed the "Palestinian crisis."

The Arab League, of which Qatar is a member, has endorsed PA moves for a unilateral declaration in the UN.