WASHINGTON: Prime Minis­ter Shahbaz Sharif, along with four members of his cabinet and other senior officials, is expected in New York on September 19 to attend the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, UN sources told Dawn.

The prime minister is scheduled to address the General Assembly on September 23 and is expected to return to Pakistan the same evening.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Federal Minister for Broadcasting and Information Maryam Aurangzeb will accompany the prime minister.

The delegation will also include the foreign secretary and other senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other departments.

The foreign minister and Ms. Khar will travel onward to Washington on Sept 25 for bilateral meetings with US officials. They are expected to stay in the US capital until September 27.

While the visit to the United Nations has its own significance, one major item on the PM’s agenda — a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden — is still undecided.

This year’s General Assembly is particularly significant because this will be the first in-person summit of world leaders at the United Nations since 2019. The 2020 and 2021 sessions were converted into virtual meetings because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is expected to attend the inaugural session of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 20, a day after he reaches New York. The same day, he will address a summit meeting on education reforms, which will also consider how to deal with the pandemic’s negative impact on education.

The prime minister will attend two more meetings on food insecurity and climate change.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2022

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