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UNGA Prez 'saddened' by NYC Mayor's refusal to meet him

Saturday - October 24, 2020 1:15 pm , Category : WORLD
United Nations, Oct 24 (IANS) UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Volkan Bozkir said that he was "saddened" by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's refusal to meet him.
"I was saddened to learn that the Mayor was unavailable to meet with me. This lack of interaction concerns me as policies devised by the City of New York directly affect the work of the UN and by extension millions of lives across the globe," Xinhua news agency quoted Bozkir as saying in a statement on Friday.
"Nevertheless, I will continue my work as president of the General Assembly of the UN, in the hopes of protecting the world's most vulnerable populations and advancing efforts towards a healthier and more sustainable planet.
"I hope the City of New York will continue to be a strong partner in that regard," he said.
Bozkir's spokesman, Brenden Varma, told reporters that the meeting with de Blasio was requested around two weeks ago and the mayor's office did not revert until a few days ago with a refusal, without providing any specific reason.
"He (Bozkir) was disappointed because he did reach out around two weeks ago to ask for an appointment with the mayor and received a response only a few days ago declining the meeting request," said Varma.
"For him it is very important to foster this kind of coordination between the top elected official of the UN and the top elected official of New York City so that we can make sure the General Assembly is functioning properly and everyone is safe."
The New York City's international affairs commissioner, Penny Abeywardena, said in a statement on Friday that she was "surprised and saddened" by Bozkir's statement.
Abeywardena did not offer any explanation, only saying that de Blasio has an excellent relationship with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and that over the course of the de Blasio administration, the City of New York has had a deeply collaborative relationship with Bozkir's predecessors.

--IANS ksk/