Wednesday, May 22, 2024

LATIN AMERICA | 26-05-2023 14:01

UK’s top diplomat rounds off regional tour with call for Brazil to join UN Security Council

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly rounds off tour of Latin America and Caribbean with speech backing Brazil’s bid for UN Security Council seat; United Kingdom looking to boost ties with the region in 200th year of bilateral relations.

Brazil must have a "louder voice" in world affairs, including a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, the United Kingdom's top diplomat said Wednesday.

The "global balance of power" has shifted south, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told a press conference in Brasilia, on the first visit by a top UK diplomat in nine years. He added: "It is a reality that needs to be reflected in a number of multilateral institutions including the UN."

Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America and the most populous country in the region, has been demanding for years to join the council as a permanent member, a move that's been blocked by the five permanent members: the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France.

Brazil "has a decisive role to play in reshaping the international order and the multilateral system and the UK reaffirms its support for Brazil's ambition to have a permanent seat on the UN security council," said Cleverly.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira said that his country and the UK were aligned in that regard.

Cleverly's visit to Brazil, at the end of a regional tour that also took him to Chile, Jamaica and Colombia, comes after London recently announced a major contribution to a Brazilian fund to protect the Amazon. 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged more than US$100 million to the fund this month during a meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the eve of King Charles III's coronation.


Rergional reset

While in Chile, Cleverly called for Latin America to have a greater voice and influence in multilateral institutions.

"Latin American countries have a decisive role to play in reshaping the international order and the multilateral system," Cleverly said in a speech at the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Centre.

"The multilateral institutions of our world need reform, in particular to give more voice and more influence to Latin America," the foreign secretary added.

During his visit to Santiago, the British official praised Chile, Peru and Mexico’s entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and added that he also hoped that countries such as Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay would join.

Notably, Cleverly also highlighted the potential for lithium exploitation in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. The UK’s top diplomat noted mining company Rio Tinto’s US$1-billion of investment, which will produce an estimated 100,000 tonnes of lithium by 2027.

Chile is the world's second largest producer of this mineral, which is key to the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles and is considered an important factor in tackling climate change. 

Cleverly’s visit forms part of the British government’s attempts to celebrate 200 years of UK-Latin America relations. The Conservative MP is the first foreign secretary to visit South America since 2018.

“We should be ambitious for our future relationship. Not just because of the historical bonds of friendship that have united us for more than 200 years, but because we treasure the same fundamental values that inspired the creation of this international order. It will only evolve, survive and prosper with the support and whole-hearted engagement of this great region,” said the foreign secretary in remarks released to the press.


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