GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
I recommend Alex Lo’s article in todays South China Morning Post about the line up of countries on the Ukraine issue. Europe and North America have condemned Russia’s invasion but China’s call for a negotiated settlement is the position of most countries.
While Mexico has criticised Russia, it has refused to join the economic sanctions imposed by the Western allies. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has even criticised Western censorship of Russian state-sponsored media.
Latin America is divided. Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador have condemned the invasion, but Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba have not. Brazil’s position is similar to that of Mexico. Israel, the United States’ close ally, is the same. On the day of the invasion, The New York Times reported, “Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, did not mention Russia once. Mr Bennett said he prayed for peace, called for dialogue and promised support for Ukrainian citizens. But he did not hint at Moscow’s involvement, much less condemn it.”
South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, initially issued a strong endorsement of Ukraine’s sovereignty but has since retreated. President Cyril Ramaphosa was unhappy with the statement, made by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor, because he considered it against the country’s stated policy. His defence minister, Thandi Modise, reportedly joined the Russian ambassador in the envoy’s Pretoria residence to celebrate Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day hours after the invasion started.
Arab states friendly with the US – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates – have stayed above the fray; likewise, India and Pakistan. Exceptionally, Turkey has backed Ukraine against Russia.
Meanwhile, with the exception of Singapore, all the member states of ASEAN have declined to condemn the invasion. Instead, they follow China’s lead and call for peace through negotiations. Unlike the US, some of its allies and the European Union, most of the world, like China, have good relations with both Ukraine and Russia, and hate to take sides.