Spain sees Indo-Pacific region as key for multilateralism, minister says

New Delhi, Apr 15 (EFE).- Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya on Thursday highlighted multilateralism as the basis of Spain’s foreign policy and said that the Indo-Pacific was a key region for this strategy.

In a virtual speech as part of the Raisina Dialog, a political and economic forum organized by the Indian government, she stressed that at a time of heightened economic and security-related tensions, multilateralism was the way forward.

“From Spain’s point of view, we will face these challenges better if we do it together and therefore our foreign policy carries multilateralism and international cooperation at its center,” Gonzalez Laya said.

She said that “individual actions were not sufficient,” and therefore Spain not only has to maintain its ties with its natural allies in Europe and the Americas, but also “needs to look more closely at the Indo-Pacific, a region of incredible progress.”

However, the minister insisted that the interest has to be based on “shared values” such as democracy, respect for individual liberties and human rights, especially women’s rights.

Gonzalez Laya specifically referred to India as a country which “Spain respects, admires, has much in common with and wants to establish a better strategic relation with.”

The top diplomat also showed interest in cooperation over how to fight the climate crisis, a sphere where both India and Europe can work together for economic coordination, according to her.

She expressed the ambition of ensuring a better planet for future generations, for which progress has to go hand in hand with committed governments and the private sectors.

Regarding the pandemic, the Spaniard said that this was a “long-term battle'” where international cooperation was needed, and that governments should join hands with private players and pharma companies to urgently boost production of anti-Covid vaccines.

Gonzalez Laya invited India to work with Spain “as partners” in order to “reform the multilateral trade system.”

She said that the World Trade Organization should back “sustainability, employment and the eradication of poverty,” for which it needs to “reestablish international norms” to prevent countries from resorting to protectionism.

“We want to share the same spirit with our alliance partners. The rest of the world should not see Europe as if we want to impose values, but as a continent that takes universal values seriously,” the minister concluded. EFE


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