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Imran reaches New York on Saudi Crown Prince’s special plane

“You are our special guest and you would be going to the US on my special aircraft,” Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman told the Pakistan Premier.

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New York, Sep 22 : Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in New York onboard the special aircraft of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman with “mission Kashmir” in focus.

Imran Khan, who was in Riyadh to meet the Saudi authorities before leaving for the US, was stopped by the Saudi Crown Prince from using a commercial flight to travel.

“You are our special guest and you would be going to the US on my special aircraft,” Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman told the Pakistan Premier.

Imran Khan was received by Pakistan’s Permanent representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan, and other officials in New York.

According to Lodhi, Imran Khan on arrival has launched his “mission Kashmir for Pakistan” to try and draw the world’s attention towards Kashmir.

This is Imran Khan’s first General Assembly visit and “he will be the voice of the Kashmiri people at the UN,” Lodhi said.

Imran Khan is staying at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel, which is partially owned by the PIA.

This’s where most Pakistani leaders stayed till September 2008, when then President Asif Ali Zardari and then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif abandoned it for grander hotels like Waldorf Astoria, which cost at least 20 times more than the Roosevelt, Dawn reported.

Imran Khan arrived in New York during the weekend, which gives him the time to consult Pakistani diplomats and prominent members of the Pakistani-American community before meeting world leaders.

On Monday, his first informal engagement is breakfast with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

As always, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s first official engagement at the UN is with the Chinese representative, and on Monday, Imran Khan will meet Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.

At around 1 a.m. (Pakistan time) on Monday, Imran Khan meets US President Donald Trump, which could be the first of the two meetings the two are expected to have during the UN session. This would also be President Trump’s second meeting with Imran Khan in less than 24 hours.

President Trump is scheduled to address a joint rally with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Houston, Texas, on September 22, hours before he meets the Pakistani Prime Minister. President Trump and PM Modi are expected to have a separate meeting before or after the rally, focusing on India-Pakistan relations.

Most world leaders will be in New York on Monday, to participate in the general debate, which begins on Tuesday.

Both Pakistani and Indian Prime Ministers are scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 27. PM Modi will speak first, on Friday morning, while Prime Minister Khan will speak later in the afternoon.

Prime Minister Khan has already announced that he will highlight the Kashmir issue in his address.

President Trump’s recent comments on the Kashmir dispute have triggered speculations about an indirect dialogue between the two South Asian neighbours during the UNGA, with Washington playing the role of a facilitator, Dawn said.

Trump’s expected meetings with both Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers, before and during the UNGA, have enhanced the possibility that he may use this occasion to discuss the situation in Kashmir.

On Thursday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he would raise the Kashmir issue during his discussions with various leaders attending the 74th UNGA.

Imran Khan will also co-host a meeting at the UN with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Countering Hate Speech.

A trilateral summit is also planned with Malaysia and Turkey.

He will address the UNGA on three more occasions at the Climate Change Summit, Summit on Universal Health Care and Financing for Development.

Outside the UN, Imran Khan will address the Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.

Middle East

Turkish Court Jails 27 For Life Over 2016 Coup Attempt

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A Turkish court on Thursday jailed 27 former pilots and other suspects for life in one of the largest trials stemming from the bloody 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

They were convicted of crimes including murder, trying to overthrow the constitutional order and attempting to assassinate the president, an AFP reporter in the courtroom said.

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Health

Saudi Arabia to make COVID-19 vaccine free for citizens and residents

As per Gulf News, Dr Asiri told Al Ekhbariya that Saudi Arabia will receive vaccines through COVAX facility as well as through companies outside of the consortium.

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Saudi King Salman

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry on Monday announced that it would make the coronavirus vaccine available for free to all citizens and residents.

“Those who have not tested positive for COVID-19 will be given priority in the vaccine campaign in the coming months,” said Dr Abdullah Asiri, the assistant undersecretary at the ministry.

He, however, added that those below 16 years of age will not be vaccinated unless research proves otherwise.

As per Gulf News, Dr Asiri told Al Ekhbariya that Saudi Arabia will receive vaccines through COVAX facility as well as through companies outside of the consortium.

“The Kingdom worked on two paths to obtain the vaccine, through the COVAX organisation, which the G20 had a role in creating and financing…Saudi Arabia will obtain a large number of vaccines through this facility, while the second track is directly contracting with the big companies to cover the gap that cannot be covered through COVAX,” Arab News mentioned Asiri as saying.

According to the World Health Organization, “the COVAX facility forms a key part of the COVAX pillar (COVAX) of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.”

The Saudi Health Ministry further expected that by the end of next year, the vaccines would cover 70 per cent of the Kingdom’s population.

“One of the most important goals set by the G20 during Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency is to support all-inclusive and equitable access to vaccines, diagnostic and treatment tools,” said Dr Abdullah Asiri.

Dr Asiri added that a comprehensive plan for vaccine distribution will be ready “in the coming weeks”.

During the two-day G20 summit hosted virtually in Riyadh, Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, the supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, on Friday said that his country would be among the first ones to get hold of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr Al Rabeeah added that Saudi Arabia has spent over USD 200 million on COVID-19 vaccine and drug development.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz had in March also ordered free coronavirus treatment for all citizens.

Meanwhile, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday announced: “There is now real hope that vaccines, in combination with other tried and tested public health measures, will help to end the pandemic.”

His remarks came after drugmaker AstraZeneca announced that its COVID-19 vaccine was up to 90 per cent effective. With this, AstraZeneca has become the third major drug company after Pfizer and Moderna to have reported late-stage data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

“The significance of this scientific achievement cannot be overstated. No vaccines in history have been developed as rapidly as these. The scientific community has set a new standard for vaccine development,” added Tedros.

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India

India To Host G20 Summit In 2023: Grouping’s Declaration

India looks forward to taking forward the G20 agenda in 2023 after the Italian and Indonesian presidencies, the source said.

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g20 summit

G20 leaders announced on Sunday that India will host the summit of the high-profile grouping in 2023 — a year later than what was decided earlier.

India was earlier slated to host the summit in 2022 with the Osaka declaration of the G20 stating last year that “we look forward to meeting again in Saudi Arabia in 2020, in Italy in 2021 and in India in 2022”.

“We thank Saudi Arabia for hosting a successful Riyadh Summit and its contribution to the G20 process. We look forward to our next meetings in Italy in 2021, Indonesia in 2022, India in 2023 and Brazil in 2024,” the G20 Riyadh Summit Leaders Declaration said.

On India now hosting the summit in 2023, a source said, “The order of the rotating presidency is decided among member states on the basis of consultations and mutual convenience.”

India looks forward to taking forward the G20 agenda in 2023 after the Italian and Indonesian presidencies, the source said.

In a statement on the summit, the Ministry of External Affairs said it was decided that the G20 presidency will be held by Indonesia in 2022, India in 2023 and Brazil in 2024.

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