Thursday, March 23, 2023

Paris and London refuse the concept of a “Global South”

It’s a notion that took on new life with the war in Ukraine. That of a “global South”, bringing together various developing or emerging countries, in Asia, as in Africa or Latin America, which refuse to take sides in a conflict which they consider to be far from their geographical area and their concerns. They showed it by repeatedly abstaining from votes condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine. During the last vote, at the end of February, calling for “the immediate withdrawal of Russia”, seven countries voted against and 32, including India and China, abstained.

“There is no ‘global South’, make no mistake, says Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, on the sidelines of the Franco-British summit held in Paris on 10 March. The various votes at the United Nations show that there is a very large majority of countries that want respect for the United Nations Charter , that Russia stop this war and withdraw its troops. These countries come from all parts of the world. »

“The Russian narrative is to establish that Russia is the only country in the northern hemisphere that cares about poverty, hunger or security,” said James Cleverly, British Foreign Secretary. “I came back from Africa, from Sierra Leone, which is suffering from the inflation of food and energy prices caused by the war in Ukraine… Russia has done nothing to improve the lives of people there in Africa. Their greatest contribution is the Wagner group which brutalizes Africans. »


Beyond the scale of the international repercussions of this conflict, it must be explained that “it is not only Ukraine that is concerned, but that it is a question of defending peace in the world: the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their own stability are at stake,” said the Minister.

“The multilateral order is there to protect those who cannot protect themselves,” recalls James Cleverly. Those who won World War II chose to give up their power to dominate the lesser, and it is this world order that Russia is endangering. »

In addition to diplomatic efforts, we will have to better respond to the concerns of countries that lack the means to deal with all emergencies, including climatic ones. Paris is preparing for the end of June a summit on the transformation of financial aid to the least developed countries, an effort led with Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados received on Friday by Emmanuel Macron. The idea is to design solutions to finance investments in global public goods such as climate, education and health while reducing poverty and inequalities.

As for the military plan, France and the United Kingdom say they are on the same wavelength. “We need to help the Ukrainians militarily to push back the Russian forces. It is in the interest of Ukraine, of Russia and of the Russians, and of other nations of the world”, maintains the British minister.

“We are determined to act together, resolutely”, abounds Catherine Colonna, who takes the opportunity to recall that the two countries are “endowed” powers: “The alliance is also based on the fact that it is a nuclear alliance. »


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