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Spotlight: World leaders uphold multilateralism, Paris Agreement in chorus
From:Xinhua  |  2017-09-23 05:36

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By Xinhua writer Wang Jiangang

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- World leaders attending the UN General Assembly here have reached an unseen degree of unity and solidarity on two major things: firmly protecting and upholding multilateralism and the Paris Agreement on climate change as they believe only by pooling efforts of all countries can they tackle the unprecedented challenges and threats facing the human beings.


Multilateralism was a major theme of the speech delivered by French President Emmanuel Macron when he addressed the General Debate of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.

He noted that the world's greatest problems, from climate change to the problems of "unregulated capitalism," could only be solved by nations working together.

"We can only try and address those challenges through multilateralism, not through the law of the survival of the fittest," he said.

Macron's perspective and determination were echoed by almost all presidents, prime ministers and other senior national representatives gathering at the UN's annual most important event discussing ways and solutions to thorny problems facing the world.

President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, said Thursday that multilateralism is "the only way to preserve the planet."

Anastasiades spoke extensively about multilateralism in his speech, stressing that sticking to the path of multilateralism is the only way "to preserve the planet; peacefully resolve conflicts; end terrorism and extremism; prevent natural disasters and alleviate humanitarian crises around the world."

Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis mirrored his views, noting that multilateralism is "the only clear path" in tackling today's challenges.

Lohannis said that "rising tensions over cultural identity and faith along with terrorist attacks" are deepening insecurity.

"People across the globe suffer from war, poverty, inequality and injustice," he said, adding that "no other path serves us better than multilateralism in finding viable solutions for the current global challenges."

Not only leaders from small and less developed countries hold the stance, those from the West exhibited similar perspective.

Germany warned the United Nations not to be lured by the siren song of "our country first," calling it a recipe for more conflict and less prosperity that must be eschewed in favor more international cooperation and the strengthening of the UN.

"A world view which puts one's own national interests first and is no longer engaged in a balancing of interests between the nations and countries of this world is gaining ever more ground," German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the debate.

The motto "our country first not only leads to more national confrontations and less prosperity. In the end, there will only be losers," said Gabriel.

Looking over the General Assembly Hall packed with world leaders and other senior officials anxious to search for solutions to common threats and challenges, UN chief Antonio Guterres said "multilateralism is more important than ever" when there are competing interests and even open conflict.

"We call ourselves the international community; we must act as one," he said.

China, one of the five permanent member of the UN Security Council, has always been a staunch supporter of multilateralism.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the country will bring more dividends of peace, of development and of governance to the world, noting that China is "a propeller for multilateralism."

China is willing to work with other countries to build a better future for mankind, he said.

Multilateralism, international cooperation, unity and other words calling for collective action against common challenges and threats are like air filling every inch of the UN headquarters these days, while almost all hate to talk about unilateralism which has become a taboo at the ongoing high-level meeting.


"As small island Pacific countries, we are no longer protected by our isolation," said Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. "Climate change, like other global challenges, cross borders seamlessly. It has no respect for sovereignty and does not discriminate countries between rich or poor."

Joining the Pacific leaders expressing