In his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly in New York, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the critical issues of global politics ranging from international terrorism, crises in Syria and North Korea, climate change, Libya, Ukraine, multilateralism to the UN reforms. The new French President has adopted an internationalist approach in articulating the foreign policy objectives of his country. He expressed his desire to play an active role in addressing challenges faced by the European Union as well as actively engage France and the European Union in the global politics. His speech reflected such an approach.
French President Emmanuel Macron extensively spoke on the Syrian crisis. Expressing concern over the plight of the Syrian people, he stated, “it is time for the international community to take note of its collective failure and question its methods.” He called for political resolution of the crisis and emphasized on dialogue. France supported the initiative for an inclusive political road map in Syria. He opined that the “Astana” format may be ‘useful’, however it would not ‘suffice’.
On the threat of international terrorism, President Macron said that French people are also vulnerable to threats posed by international terrorism. He mentioned about the fight against Islamic State and announced that France would organize a conference in 2018 on the fight against Islamic State. He noted that the fight against terrorism ‘is a military fight, a diplomatic fight but also an educational, cultural and moral fight.’
Speaking about terrorism in the Sahel region, President Macron called for undertaking ‘collective mobilization’ to eradicate terrorism from the Sahel region. The President believes that only national efforts and resources would not be able to effectively fight the menace of international terrorism. He also addressed the migration issue and said that it is moral and political obligation to protect the refugees.
French President said that Paris climate deal would not be renegotiated. He added, “it can be improved with new contributions, but we will not go back. I profoundly respect the decision of the United States and the door will always be open to them, but we will continue with all governments, local governments, cities, companies, NGOs and citizens of the world to implement the Paris Agreement.” France’s approach appears to be pragmatic on the issue of climate change. It does not want to press the US on climate change issue. It seems that President Macron would like to keep the door open to reconsideration of the US policy.
Iran Nuclear Deal
In line with the EU and other European countries, President Macron said that Iran deal should be respected. He noted that terminating Iran deal would be ‘a grave mistake’ without its replacement. He added that it would be ‘irresponsible’ to not respect the deal.
Emphasizing on the diplomacy in dealing the North Korean crisis, the French President said, “France will refuse any escalation and will close no door to dialogue, so long as the conditions are there for this dialogue to further peace.”
The French President also addressed the issue of UN reform. He stressed that the Security Council has to be capable of making effective decisions. He also talked about better representation of all forces present on all continents and coordination in the management of crises. He said that France would be alongside the United Nations for the reform. France supported the UN General Secretary’s UN reform plan.
Finally, multilateral approach to deal with global crises and global challenges was underlined in the speech. He mentioned that the global challenges, such as terrorism, migration, global warming and regulation of the digital sector, can be effectively addressed through the multilateral approach and common efforts by various stakeholders.
* The Author, Research Fellow, Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are that of the Researcher and not of the Council.