Lao Deputy PM Urges Global Community to Work Together, Warns Against Unilateralism

Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith, during the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday 23 September 2023 (Photo: UN)

During the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday, Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith urged the international community to work together to address global challenges and warned against unilateralism.

In his speech, Mr. Saleumxay said that the international community is currently facing unprecedented crises, including the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the major challenges facing developing countries, such as poverty, debt, an unjust international financial architecture, and extreme natural calamities.

Mr. Saleumxay addressed the fact that geopolitical rivalries have already led to regional tensions and unilateral measures, which have not only hampered the progress made in development over the past decade but also threatened the survival of humanity.

“At this critical juncture, the most appropriate solutions are needed to address such challenges,” he said. “It requires unified and collective actions guided by the principles of the UN Charter, and we must firmly uphold multilateralism in tackling them.”

Mr. Saleumxay added that the world needs to unite and use its shared wisdom and political determination to prevent another catastrophe. This means putting aside selfish interests and avoiding further confrontation and division among UN member states.

“To this end, the United Nations must be reformed to effectively fulfill its mandate,” he said. “We need a UN that is more relevant and effective in the rapidly changing geopolitical landscape and can address the challenges threatening international peace, security, and sustainable development.”

He said that scientific and technological advancements have equipped humanity better than ever to tackle global challenges. However, without common will, shared responsibility, and collective action, the most vulnerable people in the world will continue to be left behind.

Additionally, Mr. Saleumxay said that Laos supports the resolution of global conflicts and disputes through peaceful means, as it is the only viable way to ensure long-lasting peace and coexistence, urging an immediate end to the conflict in Ukraine through peaceful dialogue.

“Laos, like many other countries, believes that unilateralism, particularly unilateral coercive measures, violates the UN Charter and international law, harms innocent people, and hinders the development of many developing countries,” he said.

Hence, the Lao leader said that his delegation continues to join the international community in calling for the lifting of the economic embargo against Cuba, its removal from the list of “state sponsors of terrorism,” and the end of all unilateral coercive measures against the country.

Approaching the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Mr. Saleumxay emphasized that many countries are still lagging behind and called for further strengthening and scaling up of collective efforts, including harnessing scientific and technological achievements.

He said that the SDGs are not just a global development goal but a national commitment for Laos. In addition to the 17 global SDGs, Laos has an 18th national goal to “live safe from unexploded ordnance,” which remains a major obstacle to development and a threat to human life.

He called on the international community to continue to support Laos in addressing this long-standing problem.