Once a year, the Glass House by the East River offers a stage for world leaders to strut about and talk about their achievements and vision for the world. The atmosphere resembles a school speech contest. The stage is a great leveller that does not discriminate on the basis of whether the one who takes to the podium is a democratically elected leader, a revolutionary, a dictator, a despot or a coup leader.
Simply put, democracy counts little in the UN’s preparation of the speakers’ list. The process is more or less in built. As long as a country is recognized as a member, its leader can attend the annual General Assembly sessions, whether the host nation, the United States, recognizes the country concerned or not. If there is a change of government or if two rival governments stake competing claims for UN recognition, the matter is sorted out by the United Nations’ ninemember Credentials Committee, whose members include the US, China and Russia, and the 193-member General Assembly.
After the Taliban which in August captured power through an armed insurrection against the US-led occupation force and a puppet government the occupiers had installed, the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA) is staking a claim for Afghanistan’s UN seat, although it is well known that the new Taliban rulers have dismissed democracy as ‘un-Islamic’ in keeping with their understanding of Islam.
Last week, the Taliban regime’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi informed the UN that the Taliban’s Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen had been appointed as the country’s new UN ambassador and demanded that he be given the opportunity to address the annual sessions.
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