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Macron calls for multilateralism in rebuttal to Trump's isolationist UN speech

© AFP | French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the UN General Assembly on September 25.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2018-09-26

French President Emmanuel Macron called for “dialogue and multilateralism” to resolve the world’s crises in a speech at the UN Tuesday delivered minutes after US President Donald Trump blasted international “interference” in policy-making.

"What will bring a real solution to the situation in Iran and what has already stabilised it? The law of the strongest? Pressure from only one side? No!" exhorted Macron. "We know that Iran was on a nuclear military path but what stopped it? The 2015 Vienna accord," he said.

The French president’s defense of the Iran nuclear deal came shortly after Trump blasted what he called the “horrible” agreement, which was signed in the Austrian capital Vienna by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

In his address to the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Trump hailed his decision to pull out of the deal and claimed that “so many countries in the Middle East strongly supported my decision to withdraw from that horrible deal”.

While Macron did not name his US counterpart during his address, the focus of his speech – including highlighting the dangers of unilateralism that helped lead to the birth of the UN – centred on international dialogue and cooperation.

Noting that “nationalism always leads to defeat", Macron urged his fellow world leaders not to “accept our history unraveling”, adding: “Our children are watching.”

Watch Macron's full speech at the UN

No alternative to two-state solution

While Trump – a staunch Israel supporter -- did not mention the Palestinian quest for statehood, Macron underscored that a two-state solution was the only way to resolve the longstanding crisis.

"What can resolve the crisis between Israel and Palestine?” asked Macron. “Not unilateral initiatives, nor trampling on the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to legitimate peace. There is no credible alternative to the two-state solution."

In a swipe at Trump’s stated allegiance to his Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia  and the Gulf kingdom’s own opposition to the 2015 Iran deal  Macron warned that “we should not aggravate regional tensions but rather, through dialogue and multilateralism, pursue a broader agenda that allows us to address all the concerns caused by Iranian policies nuclear, ballistic, regional".

While admitting that there was widespread scepticism toward multilateral institutions such as the UN and the EU, Macron noted that one "may be tired of multilateralism". But complacency and isolationism, he stressed, were detrimental to both global peace and prosperity.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)

Date created : 2018-09-25

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