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OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 17-12-2022 04:32

UK Ambassador to Argentina Kirsty Hayes: UK must build new long-term partnerships with the countries that will shape the future

"With rapidly growing populations and a growing share of global wealth, we know that countries across the global south will play a far greater role in shaping the way the world looks over the century to come," writes UK Ambassador to Argentina Kirsty Hayes.

This week the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly set out his vision for the future of Britain’s long term relationship with countries across Asia, Africa and – most importantly for me and my team at the British Embassy in Buenos Aires – Latin America.

The UK will work to forge strong diplomatic and economic ties with new allies, who will be crucial in the future. This will build on our successful work alongside partner nations over recent decades of relative peace and prosperity to tackle poverty across the world, reduce deaths in conflicts, promote growth internationally and defend human rights. A good example of these kinds of partnerships was the excellent work the UK and Argentina carried out by co-chairing the Equal Rights Coalition during the 2019-2022 term and delivering the first strategy and five-year implementation plan for this intergovernmental body dedicated to the protection of the rights of LGBTI people.

Cementing meaningful relationships based on mutual benefit, shared interests and common principles, the United Kingdom will seek to boost development, technology, cyber security, climate change adaption and environmental protection partnerships.

That international order built with allies post-1945, including through the United Nations, enabled an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity but we are living in a momentous period when the pace of change is accelerating with hurricane force, and there are challenges to the principles of that international order, most obviously in the global instability caused by Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine.

With rapidly growing populations and a growing share of global wealth, we know that countries across the global south will play a far greater role in shaping the way the world looks over the century to come. They will have a more powerful voice on the global stage and the Foreign Secretary has this week outlined Britain’s ambition to forge even tighter links with these future partner countries and regions, not just for the now, but decades to come. 

Together, we will offer a credible and reliable alternative to countries like Russia, who actively and aggressively flout the global order. Argentina has a key role to play in the international community and that is why its support was so important over the UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

Of course, the UK will maintain existing solid relationships with allies, but also look to new partnerships with countries that are regionally influential, growing wealthier, happy to seek their own paths in their own interests and wanting an amplified voice on the world stage. These future powers will be crucial in the years to come and the UK will pursue future focused mutually beneficial partnerships with them as they do so, through patient diplomacy and a bespoke offer of trade, development assistance, expertise, cultural links, security and strong bilateral diplomatic ties. 

That UK offer to these future partner countries will be tailored to their needs and UK strengths, and will be backed-up with reliable sources of infrastructure investment.

In the past we have perhaps been too transactional, too impatient. Now we will show strategic endurance, and a willingness to commit for the long term with foreign policy, consistently planning for tomorrow, scanning the horizon, and preparing us for the next 10,15 and 20 years ahead.​

by UK Ambassador to Argentina Kirsty Hayes

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