Pakistan and China lobbied hard to defeat Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid as the race for the presidency of the UN General Assembly hotted up. They threw their weight behind Afghanistan’s former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul, who threw his hat into the ring only in January. For China, defeating Shahid reflected its dislike of the current Maldivian government of President Ibrahim Solih, which has distanced itself from Beijing. It was also intended to embarrass India, which has close ties with the Afghan government. But India had announced its backing for Shahid last year, and was able to convey its regrets to Rassoul without diplomatic loss.
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