Between US President Donald J. Trump’s signature America First rhetoric and self-appraisals generating “spontaneous murmurs” and the attendance of New Zealand’s first baby and mum Jacinda Adern, you might be forgiven for missing Laos’ Foreign Minister in the international news reports generated at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly this weekend.
Yet crucial issues of climate change, support for vulnerable communities and countries, sustainable development, peace on the Korean peninsula and beyond and the unilateral imposition of sanctions were among those issues raised by Laos when it had the opportunity to speak directly to the international community.
Laos’ Foreign Minister Saleumxay told the UN General Assembly on Saturday in New York that Laos supported and urged the international community to uphold and further strengthen multilateralism. “This remains one of the core values of our only universal organization, the United Nations,” he said.
Realizing the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at a time of a changing climate requires national governments and the international community to work “hand-in-hand’ with extra thought to the vulnerable, particularly Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. “Against this backdrop, it is more crucial than ever for world leaders to honour the commitments pledged in the Paris Agreement.”
Laos also highlighted the critical importance of peace and security for socio-economic progress in all nations. “Past experiences have shown that settling disputes by peaceful means is the best way to ensure durable peace that is essential for sustainable development of a nation.”
The international community must help build mutual trust and confidence among countries to support them overcome challenges between them and resolve disputes peacefully, he said.
As such, Minister Kommasith welcomed the thawing of relations in the Korean Peninsula and between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States.“We hope that such positive momentum will be strengthened, thereby, contributing to the maintenance of peace and stability, and denuclearization in the region as a whole.”
He also called for the end to the economic blockade of Cuba, given that the enforcement of isolation and sanction measures imposed on any country may not bring about benefits to the international community. “On the contrary, it will cause a loss for all and lead to increasing hostility,” the minister said.
The Lao minister expressed his country’s concern on the continued lack of progress on the Isreal-Palestine front.“We hope that this long overdue issue on Palestine will be resolved by peaceful means in order to achieve a two-state solution where Palestine and Israel can live side by side in peace, security and within internationally recognised borders as stipulated in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions,” Minister Saleumxay said.
Mr Kommasith also underlined the need to address the scourge of transnational crime, at all levels, noting Laos’ commitment with regional countries at the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the international community in the fight against illicit drug trafficking, illegal wildlife trade, human trafficking and other serious crimes.