The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, has just concluded his participation at the UN General Assembly at which respect for the United Nations Charter following the Russian aggression against Ukraine was a constant feature during a week with a busy diplomatic agenda.
The EU foreign ministers met on an urgent basis to immediately respond to the latest threats by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. At the Extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council, the second held by EU foreign ministers, Minister Albares reiterated the support for Ukraine and condemned the ongoing violation of international law, highlighting that it took place in the same week as the UN General Assembly, during which “international law, peace and security should prevail”.
He also took the chance to hold a meeting with the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, with the aim of supporting the investigation of war crimes in Ukraine. José Manuel Albares also took this defence of the United Nations Charter to the Strengthening Atlantic Cooperation Initiative. Spain signed a joint statement, together with other countries under the initiative of the Secretary of State of the United States,
Antony Blinken, to adopt a set of shared principles on security, economy and the environment.
The Global Food Security Summit also posed a good opportunity to outline Spain’s initiative in the fight against the food crisis caused by Putin’s war. José Manuel Albares also addressed this issue at the bilateral meeting he held with his Turkish counterpart, with whom he also reviewed the accession of new countries to NATO.
New UN headquarters in Spain
On another note, Minister Albares took part in the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, where he reiterated Spain’s support in the fight against terrorism and support for the victims. The Minister for Foreign Affairs signed an agreement with the Under-Secretary-General of the UN for Spain to host a new United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office.
Latin America was very high on the minister’s agenda during the UN General Assembly. At the traditional breakfast for Ibero-American foreign ministers, José Manuel Albares offered the Dominican Republic every support in ensuring the success of the upcoming Ibero-American Summit, which included an event to pay tribute to the Chilean former President, Salvador Allende and his participation in the “Latin America, the United States and Spain in the Global Economic Forum”.
In parallel with the General Assembly in New York, the minister took part in economic, business and cultural events and held a dozen bilateral meetings, including a breakfast organised by the Council of the Americas.
In addition to those already mentioned, Minister Albares had the chance to meet up again with his Moroccan counterpart, Naser Bourita. Commitments were reached at this meeting to continue strengthening cooperation between the two countries. Following this meeting, José Manuel Albares announced an agreement to work on the start of a gradual and orderly crossing point for goods through the land customs posts in the month of January. He also announced that, for the first time since 2015, a high-level meeting will be held before the end of the year.
The pandemic also played a role in the final stretch of the week. Thanks to Spain’s leadership in global health, the Minister for Foreign Affairs was tasked with co-chairing, upon an invitation from the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, a new meeting of the international fight against COVID-19, following the success of the meeting of senior officials held in Madrid on 6 and 7 September, which gathered together more than 60 participants. This meeting gave a renewed boost to international action on COVID-19, evaluated the progress made and outlined measures to control the virus and strengthen the security of global health.
Spain thus closed off its week at the United Nations General Assembly at which all the priorities established were met that Minister Albares travelled to New York with: contributing to reinforce inclusive and effective multilateralism vis-à-vis the United Nations system; promoting international peace and security, particularly in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine; continuing to enhance compliance with the SDG and a fair and sustainable socio-economic recovery without leaving anyone behind; contributing to guarantee food security; protecting human rights and promoting a cross-cutting feminist foreign policy; boosting the inclusive ecological and digital transition; and lastly, strengthening Spain’s presence in the United Nations system.
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