Fri | Jul 10, 2020

Foreign affairs must be principled!

Published:Thursday | May 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM


Our foreign affairs ministry must be encouraged to choose its position based on principle and stand firmly behind it. The Jamaican Government now says that it is deeply troubled by violence in the Gaza Strip arising from the United States' controversial decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, recognising the city as Israel's capital. It wasn't long ago that many countries, including US allies, voted overwhelmingly at the UN Assembly to denounce the US decision with 128 voting against, nine in favour, 35 voted to abstain, and another 21 countries did not participate.

Jamaica chose to abstain, even as it was widely known that the US move would result in violence and instability in the region. The ongoing violence in the region since the embassy was opened has been described as horrific, the worst in years, with dozens killed to date.

The UN has always argued for peaceful, negotiated resolution and mediation in these conflicts. It is the very essence of why the UN Assembly was formed.

While it is admirable to see the Government taking a firmer position now, it would've been more meaningful had they not voted to abstain after the US threatened to take names of those countries that did not support the controversial decision.

Some of the largest recipients of US aid still voted against; it was a matter of principle. Foreign affairs should not be developed based on fear; it ought to be principled, diplomatic and consistent.