President concludes official visit to New York for 76th UNGA

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has concluded his official trip to New York City to attend the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

President Solih was joined by First Lady Fazna Ahmed and a high-level Maldivian delegation during his trip to New York City, in which he delivered his address at the UNGA session. In his address, the president recalled how the United Nations (UN) had initially debated the merits of admitting a small island state like the Maldives and said the fact that he could address the President of the General Assembly (PGA) Abdullah Shahid, in their mother tongue validated the progress of the Maldives in expanding global recognition. He also addressed the COVID-19 pandemic and made critical statements outlining the climate change crisis. He also reaffirmed the position of the Maldives on the Palestine issue, advocating that Palestine should be recognised as a sovereign state.

Furthermore, President Solih participated in a number of events on the sidelines of the GA during his visit. As such, the president attended the Climate Moment meeting convened by the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres and Prime Minister of the UK Boris Johnson. Other high-level events attended by the president on the margins of the UNGA include the panel on Transformative Action for Nature and People, which met to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, and the online session of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Leaders' Summit 2021.

During the visit, First Lady Fazna also had a number of important engagements and side events at the UNGA. As such, she met with United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Marco Suazo to discuss collaboration on music art therapy in the Maldives. She also met with Interim CEO of Girl Guides USA Judith Batty and attended the book launch ceremony hosted by First Lady of Turkey Emine Erdogan.

The President's Office stated the 76th Session of the UNGA was a watershed moment for the Maldives, with Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Shahid serving as PGA for the first time in the country's history.