NEW YORK, USA — In his address to the United Nations and the G-77 at the sideline of the UN General Assembly last week, the foreign minister of Guyana, Carl Greenidge, said that “multilateralism is under attack.” He joined a chorus of world leaders at the UN who have condemned the rise of populism, protectionism, disrespect for international treaties and conventions.
Greenidge said that multilateralism is “under attack in some quarters and there have been recent calls for it to be replaced”. This is why he suggested that the G-77, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries, for example, may become more relevant and urged them to pool their diverse resources and reinforce solidarity.
“Multilateralism is under direct challenge. The global order and the rules of engagement at the international level are being redefined – whether on trade, climate change, migration or the very sanctity of international agreements, undertakings and understandings,” he said.
This new shift will “affect the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the SDGs,” and could become a crisis, he stressed.
To combat this rise of nationalist politics and protectionism, Greenidge urged the G-77 and China to unite; to advocate for developing countries in the areas of climate change, global trade, South-South cooperation, and migration.
He called on the G-77 to remain “the credible champion of all our countries and utilize the strength of our collective voice and joint negotiating capacity to advance our collective interests on all major economic issues”.
“The G-77 simply cannot afford to remain silent on these issues or give a pass to those who would seek to forget historical wrongs, or injustices, mistakes or acknowledged responsibilities. To counter increasing unilateral tendencies in our world, G-77 has to work to reaffirm the efficacy of multilateralism,” he said.
Guyana called on the G-77 to stick with its core principles like mutual respect, dialogue, peaceful resolution of issues, differentiated capacities and responsibilities, solidarity, non-interference and sovereign equality guarantee the integrity.
Guyana called on the US to lift the economic and trade embargo on Cuba.
“Again we join the overwhelming majority of the international community in calling for the removal of the trade and economic embargo against our sister Caribbean nation of Cuba,” he said.
Greenidge also reiterated Guyana’s call for a two-state solution to resolve the Israel/ Palestine conflict.
“These two peoples have much to gain by living side by side in peace. The people of Palestine, including the inhabitants of Gaza, like people everywhere have a right to life, to a dignified existence and to their own homeland,” he said.
Guyana also raised the issue of the force expulsion of the about one million Rohingya people from Myanmar, and he commended Bangladesh’s efforts in providing a safe haven for the refugee population, with the assistance of international agencies.
Greenidge was in Bangladesh earlier this year and saw firsthand the plight of the Rohingyas.
At the UN on Friday, he urged the international community to take the necessary steps to ensure respect of the human rights of the affected population.
Guyana seems certain to return to its historical role of robust participation in the G-77, the NAM and the ACP Group. These groups emerged as a solidarity forum for developing countries during the Cold War, but with the demise of Yugoslavia, Egypt’s protracted domestic challenges and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s religion-based nationalist agenda, developing countries are looking to China.
Many are afraid that Modi, who was the first Indian leader to skip a NAM summit, will toe the US line. India has already voted against Iran and Palestine at the UN forums.
by Youri Aramin Kemp, Caribbean News Now(U.S.A)