Serb minister elected next General Assembly head

Jun 9, 2012, 12:01 AM

Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Serbia’s foreign minister was elected president of the U.N. General Assembly’s next session Friday, a sign of his country’s rehabilitation on the world stage after the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Vuk Jeremic, the first Serb to hold a top U.N. post, defeated Lithuania’s U.N. Ambassador Dalius Cekuolis by a vote of 99-85 on the first ballot after an intense behind-the-scenes campaign. There was one abstention and several absentees in the 193-member world body.

“A painful era has now come to an end,” Jeremic said. “Today our nation can proudly stand before the world again.”

The one-year presidency of the General Assembly rotates among regions, and this was the first contested election since 1991. Usually, a region puts forward a single candidate, but this year Eastern Europe had two contenders.

It was not immediately clear whether Jeremic, 36, would be the youngest president of the General Assembly when he takes over from Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar on Sept. 18 at the start of the 67th session. Assembly spokeswoman Nihal Saad said there has been no research done but it is believed he will be the youngest.

Unlike the more powerful 15-member Security Council, whose decisions are legally binding, the General Assembly’s resolutions carry no legal force, but it is the world’s primary forum for debate. It adopts new treaties, controls the U.N. budget and decides how much each nation should contribute.

Jeremic told diplomats he viewed his election primarily as a tribute to the people of Serbia.

“We are a small developing country that belongs to no military alliance or political union,” Jeremic said. “It is therefore truly honoring to have received the confidence of so many nations from all over the world to preside over the main deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations.”

Looking back at the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, he said the “ferocious internal strife, the ensuing devastation and fratricide left deep wounds in their wake.”

Jeremic said Serbia, once the largest of Yugoslavia’s republics which became a U.N. member in 2000, has in the past few years offered “a hand of friendship and reconciliation” to its neighbors.

Jeremic, who has been foreign minister for the past five years, has been a frequent visitor to the United Nations, appearing before the U.N. Security Council on numerous occasions when it has taken up Kosovo. The former Serb province declared its independence in 2008, but Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s secession.

Serbia has close cultural and political ties to Russia, and diplomats pointed to Moscow’s support for Jeremic as a key to his victory. Last week, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he was sure Jeremic would be elected.

Cekuolis angered Russia at the General Assembly during its commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II in 2010 when he said the war’s end “did not bring freedom to our nation.”

“It resulted in new Soviet occupation and annexation,” he said. “My country fell under a totalitarian regime, Soviet communism.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Zabiullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban government, speaks during a press conference in Ka...
Associated Press

Taliban supreme leader prays for Afghanistan’s quake victims

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban’s supreme leader offered prayers Friday for Afghanistan’s earthquake victims during a speech to Islamic clerics in Kabul. The tremor in June killed more than 1,000 people in the eastern part of the country. State radio aired Haibatullah Akhundzada’s speech live Friday from the gathering in Kabul, where thousands of Islamic […]
4 hours ago
Associated Press

Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s media watchdog has banned access to the Turkish services of U.S. public service broadcaster Voice of America and German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, prompting criticism of censorship. The Supreme Board of Radio and Television enforced a February decision requiring international media that air television content in Turkish online to apply for a […]
4 hours ago
Tourists take a selfie in front of the Trevi Fountain, in Rome, Monday, June 20, 2022. Summer trave...
Associated Press

After two pandemic years, a summer travel bounce — and chaos

JERUSALEM (AP) — At a tourism conference in Phuket last month, Thailand’s prime minister looked out at attendees and posed a question with a predictable answer. “Are you ready?” Prayuth Chan-ocha asked, dramatically removing his mask and launching what’s hoped to be the country’s economic reset after more than two years of coronavirus-driven restrictions. When […]
4 hours ago
Tourists take a selfie in front of the Trevi Fountain, in Rome, Monday, June 20, 2022. Summer trave...
Associated Press

After two pandemic years, a summer travel bounce — and chaos

JERUSALEM (AP) — At a tourism conference in Phuket last month, Thailand’s prime minister looked out at attendees and posed a question with a predictable answer. “Are you ready?” Prayuth Chan-ocha asked, dramatically removing his mask and launching what’s hoped to be the country’s economic reset after more than two years of coronavirus-driven restrictions. When […]
4 hours ago
A currency trader walks by the screen showing the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and Sou...
Associated Press

Europe rises, Asia falls after pessimistic ‘tankan’ survey

TOKYO (AP) — European shares edged higher after Asian benchmarks finished lower Friday, as a quarterly report by Japan’s central bank rekindled worries about the world’s third largest economy. Shares were slightly higher in Europe in early trading, after finishing lower in Asia, declining in Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney and Shanghai. Markets were closed in Hong […]
4 hours ago
FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for ...
Associated Press

Trial for US basketball star begins in Moscow-area court

MOSCOW (AP) — American basketball star Brittney Griner appeared in a Moscow-area court for trial Friday, about 4 1/2 months after she was arrested on cannabis possession charges at an airport while traveling to play for a Russian team. Griner was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Police said she was carrying vape canisters […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Serb minister elected next General Assembly head