At the UN general Assembly. Investing in multilateralism is our “national interest”

At the UN general Assembly. Investing in multilateralism is our “national interest”

I write after coming back from the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York: a full week at work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, to restart peace talks in Syria, to keep alive and relaunch the two-State solution for Israel and Palestine, to work with Africa on our future, to protect rights and create new opportunities for all. (I will write more on Iran, Syria and the Middle East in the next post). But first and foremost it was a week to restate that we will find solutions to the great issues of our times only if we work together, and the United Nations are the natural centre of gravity for all our collective work on peace, security and growth around the world.

This week, some described the United Nations as an obstacle on the path to achieve our “national interests”. The exact opposite is true. In a complex and difficult word like ours, the only realistic and effective solutions are born when we join forces, among global powers and continents, in the framework of the United Nations.

This is the European Union’s choice, the European way. We confirmed it in our meeting with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and in the one – that I convened for the first time ever – with the ministers of the European members of the UN Security Council.

It is a choice that we put in practice every day. We do so, for instance, reinforcing trilateral cooperation among the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations – on migration, economic growth, peace and security (here is a report on our meeting in New York). We do so supporting the United Nations’ work to end the crisis in Libya. Or supporting regional cooperation on shared interests – as we do in the Sahel, to end instability in Mali and in the whole region (here is my speech at our meeting on Mali and the Sahel).

This is also the only way we tackle global issues that equally concern all of us. For instance, creating jobs and opportunities for our young people (and in New York I joined the board of a new UNICEF initiative, here is the video). Governing migration together, turning it from a challenge to an opportunity for economic and human growth (here is a meeting on migration within the African continent). Fighting violence against women in all continents (and in New York we announced an investment targeted on Latin America, the video is here). Demonstrating that the respect for human rights makes our societies stronger and richer, as we did during the event we organised on “Good Human Rights Stories”. Working for a truly sustainable development, one that reduces inequalities and protects the environment (here is my video for the #Act4SDGs campaign, one year after we agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals). Using the full potential of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, regulating at the same time their military applications – and this is what we worked on in the second meeting of the Global Tech Panel.

The full meetings’ list

The UN General Assembly’s week is also the opportunity to meet colleagues from all around the world. We had a meeting of all G7 Foreign Ministers. I met with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the annual Transatlantic dinner, with the ministers of all European members of the Security Council, and with the Foreign Ministers of the two other permanent members of the Council, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov and China’s Wang Yi.

I hosted a dinner of the Balkans’ Heads of State and government (press release here). Among our Eastern partners, I met the new Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. But also the Foreign Ministers of Norway, Ine Eriksen Soreide, and Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis.

Among our neighbours from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, I met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the King of Jordan Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the Foreign Minister of Morocco Nasser Bourita, the Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Syrian opposition representatives. I also met with representatives of regional organisations – the Secretary of the Arab League Aboul Gheit, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s leadership with the Foreign Ministers of Oman and Kuwait, the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation’s Secretary Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen. And Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

From Africa, the African Union’s Commission Chairman Moussa Faki, the President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and the President of Mozambique Filipe Jacinto Nyusi.

From Latin America, the new Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez, the new Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, Chile’s Roberto Ampuero, Ecuador’s Jose Valencia Amores. And I took part in a meeting to support Venezuelan refugees and their host communities.

From Asia and the Pacific, I met with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi, and the new Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

Finally, the international organisations: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, his deputy Amina Mohammed, the new Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, UNRWA’s Commissioner Pierre Krähenbühl, and in a trilateral meeting, the High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi  and the Organisation for International Migrations’ Director William Swing.

Here is the post on Iran, Syria and the Middle East at the UN General Assembly