Dutch king, not prime minister, to address UN general assembly

United Nations headquartersKing Willem-Alexander will address the 70th general assembly of the United Nations in New York later this month, rather than prime minister Mark Rutte, the state information service RVD said on Tuesday.

It will be first time a Dutch monarch has given a speech to the assembly instead of the prime minister, the RVD said.

Several other ministers and Rotterdam mayor Achmed Abouteleb will also attend the gathering. Queen Máxima will be there in her role as secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s special advisor on micro-finance.

According to the NRC, Willem-Alexander has been pushed to the forefront as part of the Netherlands’ campaign to win a temporary seat on the UN security council in 2017 and 2018. The king’s role emphasises the importance of the UN to the Dutch, the RVD said.

His speech will focus on the meaning of the UN and the Dutch contribution to peace, justice and development.

According to protocol which puts heads of state above prime ministers, Willem-Alexander will speak on September 28, the same day as US president Barack Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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