Speech by H.E. Mr. Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in his capacity as chair of the Asian Group, on the occasion of the election of the President of the General Assembly for the 61st session

Baki İlkin 08.06.2006
It is an honour, on behalf of the Group of Asian States, to express our heartfelt congratulations to Her Excellency Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, previous Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to France and Representative of the Kingdom of Bahrain at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court of Arbitration in Paris, on her election to the high office of the President of the General Assembly, for its sixty first session.

Her deep knowledge, impressive experience and wide professional achievements in the fields of law and diplomacy will, without doubt, prove to be of great value and an asset in guiding Member States through the important and complex issues before them, while maintaining our momentum towards reforming the Organization.

It is significant that we have today also elected the third lady President of the UN General Assembly, a step in the right direction in bridging the wide gap towards gender equality among Presidents of this august body. I would like to assure the President-elect that the Asian Group will render active support and cooperation as she discharges the responsibilities of her high office.

Our Group would also like to express its deep appreciation and profound gratitude to our President, His Excellency Mr. Jan Eliasson of Sweden, for his extraordinary commitment and able guidance in fulfilling his duties as President of the Assembly at its sixtieth session. His skills, leadership and dedication have been essential for the achievement of the successful outcome of the session during one of the Assembly's most crucial periods. With strong determination and perseverance, fundamental changes indeed have taken place under His Presidency. The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council were just two of the significant steps that instantly spring to mind. Again, we thank Mr. Eliasson for his outstanding presidency and wish him all the best in his important position as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden. At the same time, we extend our warmest welcome to Her Excellency Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, as the next President of the General Assembly and look forward to working closely with her.

Thank you.