Singapore’s foreign minister calls for maintaining multilateral system in the face of unprecedented challenges

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25 (Xinhua): Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Saturday evening (Sept. 24) stressed the importance of keeping the multilateral system inclusive and rules-based in the face of multiple challenges.

“The era of relative stability and prosperity that followed World War II has sadly come to an end,” he said during the general debate of the UN General Assembly.

“Will we have a more divided, less prosperous and less peaceful world?

“Or can we strengthen multilateralism and the United Nations to face the challenges of the future, to maintain and strengthen the rules-based international system and to jointly exploit the opportunities offered by new technologies? He asked.

“Singapore believes the only way forward is to maintain the inclusive and rules-based multilateral system that has guaranteed peace and progress for all of us since World War II,” Balakrishnan said.

The experience of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that “multilateral cooperation is the only way forward”, he said, adding that humanity shares one planet and the destinies of peoples are linked.

“No one is safe until we all are. This applies to pandemics, but also to climate change, ocean conservation and many other common challenges,” he said.

The multilateral system, which has contributed greatly to global peace and security, is now under severe strain. The prospects for international cooperation have drastically weakened and the temptation for unilateralism has become even stronger, he warned.

The recovery from Covid-19 remains uneven and fragile, the global economy is entering a period characterized by higher and prolonged inflation, and the climate crisis is a clear and present threat, the diplomat noted.

This is a time when multilateralism must be defended and fortified, Balakrishnan said, noting that responses to these myriad opportunities and challenges must remain rooted in the fundamental principle of multilateralism, including in particular respect for the UN Charter. and international law.

“It is in the interest of the world – and in our own long-term interest – to set aside our differences, meet the challenges of the global commons and reap the emerging opportunities offered by new technologies,” added Balakrishnan. – Xinhua