Wang Yi, Lavrov, and Blinken Exchange Views at UN Zoom Meet
May 7, 2021 (EIRNS)—China, which is the chair of the UN Security Council this month, organized a meeting today, on the issue of global cooperation and multilateralism. The Zoom forum entitled
““Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Upholding Multilateralism and the United Nations-Centered International System” was attended by the foreign ministers of Russia, the United States, Mexico, Vietnam, Niger, Tunisia, Kenya, Ireland, Norway, Estonia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the deputy foreign ministers of India, Britain and France. While there were many countries addressing the meeting, this was the first time that the Russian and the U.S. foreign ministers would meet in a multilateral context, and the first exchange between Wang Yi and Blinken since Anchorage.
As the chair of the meeting, Wang Yi spoke before the others. He underlined the need to commit to multilateralism and to reject all zero-sum games. “There must be dialogue and cooperation based on equality for all,” he said. He also attacked the extensive use of sanctions by nations to deal unilaterally with problems that should be dealt with in the multilateral arena. He emphasized the notion of peace through development and stressed that the UN should be especially mindful of the situation facing the developing countries.
Antony Blinken spoke after several other speakers and addressed the role of the United States in the creation of the UN, quoting Harry Truman several times, but not Franklin Roosevelt. Blinken said that the U.S. was committed to multilateralism and “had shown great restraint” after World War II in spite of being the most powerful country in the world. He said the system since then had been one of the most peaceful periods of the world. He said that adherence to international laws of all types was key, not only to the UN Charter, but to maritime law and rulings by courts, no doubt implying the ruling of the International Court on the South China Sea, which has never been accepted by China.
Blinken also said that human rights must remain at the heart of the UN and that countries cannot be allowed to redraw borders or target countries with disinformation. He went on that it was not enough to defend the rules-based system, but that the system must be improved, for instance with regard to trade discrimination. He called for “non-traditional partnerships” between different groups in countries.
Next spoke Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was able to confront the indirect U.S. attacks on Russia. He said it was necessary to strengthen the international system and that the world was at a turning point. Even before COVID-19, international governance was being tested. He also stressed the importance of international law. Not all countries are honestly working together. The Western countries are trying to roll back the multipolar world, he said, trying to implement “their rules” against the accepted international rules. One example was the call for a “summit of democracies” which he characterized as “new club based on interests, with a clearly ideological nature.” He also criticized a French-German proposal for an “Alliance for Multilateralism,” which would be based on the European Union as “the cornerstone of the multilateral international system.” He also attacked the moves to create “narrow partnerships.” In this regard, he mentioned the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, and the Information and Democracy Partnership, which unite a few dozen countries. “This also reveals the West’s true attitude toward multilateralism and the UN, which they do not regard as a universal format for developing solutions acceptable to everyone, but in the context of their claims to superiority over everyone else, who must accept what is required of them,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov also referred to the recent critical statements on Russia and China issued by the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting as an example of that policy, a policy which he said British and the Americans are pushing.
Lavrov reiterated President Putin’s call for a meeting of the Permanent Five of the UN Security Council. He said also that Russia supported a defense of human rights, “ starting with the most important one—the right to life.”
In wrapping up the meeting, Wang Yi said that the attendance showed that all members of the Security Council attach great importance to the principle of multilateralism with all of the speakers emphasizing the necessity of defending the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. He reaffirmed the urgency of the UN to play a greater role in international affairs, an important marker in mobilizing the international community against the “oligarchism” of the Anglo-American crowd.