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Saddened by New York Mayor's refusal to meet in-person, says UNGA President

ANI | Updated: Oct 24, 2020 01:02 IST

New York [US], October 24 (ANI/Sputnik): New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to personally meet with the President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, to discuss the coordination between the UN headquarters and the city in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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 United Nations and by extension millions of lives across the globe," Bozkir tweeted on Friday.
He stressed that the pandemic requires communication at the highest level and it is necessary to promote dialogue and coordination between the United Nations and the Mayor's office.
Blasio's office did not reveal a reason for declining an appointment, the President's spokesperson, Brenden Varma, said.
According to Varma, the Mayor instead offered a meeting with New York City's Commissioner for International Affairs Penny Abeywardena. However, it was important for Bozkir to meet with De Blasio himself, the spokesman pointed out.

The Mayor's office also responded with a letter to Bozkir's statement, saying it was "surprised and saddened" by the statement.
"It has indeed been a fruitful partnership for the last nearly seven years," Blasio's letter, accessed by Sputnik, read. "And we look forward to continuing our partnership with the United Nations to further the global goals for good of all New Yorkers."
Bozkir had also sought a meeting with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, Varma said.
Since taking office in September, Bozkir has been vocal about the need to return to the normal functioning of the United Nations and hold more in-person meetings at the organiasation's headquarters located in Manhattan.
Before convening the UN high-level General Debate virtually last month, Bozkir also stated that several heads of states, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had indicated they would come to New York for the gathering.
However, according to Bozkir, New York City requirements for everyone coming from abroad to quarantine for 14 days had deterred the officials from coming to the United Nations in-person.
After the COVID-19 outbreak hit New York City in March, the UN headquarters switched to mostly virtual format of all events. (ANI/Sputnik)