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Vajpayee's UN address to focus on terrorism

M Shakeel Ahmed in New York | September 20, 2003 21:17 IST
Last Updated: September 23, 2003 21:12 IST

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 25 is expected to focus on the double standards of the international community in the fight against terrorism and appeal for a united fight against the scourge.

Complete coverage of Vajpayee's visit

Indian officials on Saturday were giving final touches to Vajpayee's address.

Vajpayee will meet United States President George W Bush on September 23, but will have no interaction with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf who will speak at the UNGA on September 24.

Vajpayee, who arrived in New York on a weeklong visit from Turkey, is expected to have meetings with several world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During his Turkey visit too the prime minister had come out strongly against the 'double standards' adopted by some western countries in dealing with terrorism.

Officials said terrorism would be among the key issues during deliberations at the UNGA as also in his meetings with world leaders.

With uncertainty still looming large over the US draft resolution for stationing a multilateral force in Iraq following divisions in UN Security Council members, the issue is expected to be hotly debated.

The West Asia crisis and the situation in Afghanistan are expected to be high on Vajpayee's agenda during his parleys with the world leaders, officials said.

Vajpayee is the only Indian prime minister to address the UN General Assembly for five consecutive years.

Although India will continue its balancing act on the West Asia front, Vajpayee is likely to convey to the world community New Delhi's opposition to any Israeli move to expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from the West Bank.

The role and relevance of UN in the light of the Iraq developments is another issue that is likely to be discussed.

Another area of concern to India is resurgence of Taliban in Afghanistan, which is likely to be reflected in the discussions, the officials said.

Vajpayee, who is leading a high-level delegation, may also use the occasion to focus on serious concerns of developing countries on international trade, including agriculture and Singapore issues, which came under spotlight during the just-concluded Cancun WTO ministerial that collapsed due to sharp differences with developed nations.

In his address, Vajpayee is likely to stress the role of multilateralism in dealing with Iraq situation and to call for wider role for the United Nations in the political and humanitarian fields.

Besides addressing the Assembly, his engagements include address to Asia Society on Monday, a public meeting on Sunday and discussions with groups of Indian Americans who are keen to help in the development of India.

Vajpayee is expected to address concern of NRIs on several issues, including dual citizenship, as also to outline steps India is taking to attract investments at a public meeting in Manhattan, which is expected to be attended by around 4000 people.

Another occasion for him to meet the selected community members would be a reception being given by Indian Ambassador Lalit Mansingh.

A few hours after he speaks at the Assembly on September 25, Vajpayee is scheduled to participate in a literary conference being organised by the US chapter of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

The conference is expected to be an evening of relaxation for Vajpayee to be spent with poets and writers, and an occasion for him to recite his own poetry.

He would leave for home the next day.

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