For­eign af­fairs must be prin­ci­pled!

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - P. CHIN chin_p@ya­hoo.com

THE ED­I­TOR, Sir:

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.

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