Speaking in Parliament, Jo emphasised the diplomatic importance of emerging powers on the UN Security Council.
Jo asked the Foreign Secretary what efforts were being made to strengthen Britain’s relations with emerging powers such as Brazil and South Africa. With the UN Security Council talks to condemn the Syrian regime’s atrocities currently making slow progress, she highlighted how the wider support of these countries could reduce the likelihood of a veto.
The Foreign Secretary agreed with Jo, saying that the Government would be actively strengthening bilateral ties, drawing attention to the discussion of shared values at last week’s UK-South Africa forum in London.
Commenting, Jo said:
“For two weeks, the UN Security Council have been considering action against the Syrian regime’s deadly crackdown on opposition protests. With opposition from Russia and China, emerging powers such as Brazil, India and South Africa play a key role in preventing further violence and repression of the Syrian people.
“This situation highlights that efforts must be made to engage with these countries, from strengthening our diplomatic and trade ties to shared interests, like human rights, and I am pleased the Government is taking this agenda forward.”
- The full text of Jo’s question and the Foreign Secretary’s reply is as follows:
14 Jun 2011 : Column 632
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): Europe stands united in condemnation of the atrocities perpetrated by the Syrian regime, but progress in getting the Security Council similarly to declare condemnation of these abuses is frustratingly slow. The support of countries such as Brazil, South Africa and India could reduce the likelihood of a Russian or Chinese veto, which highlights the importance of these emerging powers. What steps are the Government are taking to strengthen further the ties between Britain and the emerging powers, in terms not just of trade but of shared interests, such as human rights?
Mr Hague: My hon. Friend is absolutely right to draw the wider conclusion about the need to elevate these bilateral relationships. A good example of that is the UK-South Africa bilateral forum that we held here in London on Thursday, which included four South African Ministers discussing with their counterparts from the UK a whole range of issues and emphasising in particular the shared values between our country and a country such as South Africa. We will take forward that work energetically in the years ahead.