UN General Assembly elects new president

The UN General Assembly has elected the Foreign Minister of the Maldives, Abdulla Shahid, as its next president. He pledged to work for equal access to coronavirus vaccines.

Representatives from 191 UN member states voted on Monday at the UN headquarters in New York. Shahid won a majority of votes, garnering 143 ballots.

The 76th General Assembly session opens in September.

Shahid expressed an intention to make an all-out effort to ensure equitable access to vaccines, saying, "No one is safe until everyone is safe."

He also pledged to work for gender equality in the UN Assembly, saying he would not participate in "any panels that are not gender balanced."

In his one-year term he is expected to work on combatting the coronavirus pandemic and promoting the Sustainable Development Goals, including the fight against poverty and climate change.

Another focus for observers will be how he sets the stage for international cooperation amid the rivalry between the United States and China.