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World

West needs to listen to Global South – UK foreign secretary

Leaders in developing countries feel ignored as Ukraine takes center stage for the West, said James Cleverly

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly © Getty Images / Dan Kitwood

Leaders of the Global South are growing irritated by what they perceive as lecturing by the West, the UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told The Guardian on the sidelines of the UN general assembly.

The official warned that “the West will be in trouble unless it learns to listen better to the Global South” and stated that many foreign ministers from those countries feel that all they hear Western leaders talk about is “Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine.”

“We have got to be sensitive to that,” he stressed.

Cleverly insisted that it is crucial to listen to what other countries are trying to say and communicate that the West is committed to “helping the developing world deal with their pre-existing challenges” while also focusing on supporting Kiev amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

At the same time, the foreign secretary lamented that there has been slow progress in persuading key figures in the Global South to join the West’s condemnation of Russia over the conflict “more explicitly,” according to The Guardian. The official stated that he is now trying out a more “limited formula” that these countries could be “more willing to articulate,” such as calling for Russia to withdraw its tanks or return “abducted children.”

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Global South won’t back Kiev as West demands – WSJ

Cleverly revealed in an interview with Reuters that he had urged Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to use his influence to persuade Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine before the latter’s visit to Moscow, which is currently ongoing.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Western officials have overestimated the willingness of politically neutral nations to join anti-Russia policies in support of Ukraine. 

Jan Techau of the Eurasia Group noted in a statement to the outlet that the West has been “surprised” by the widespread reluctance of Global South leaders to condemn Moscow. He suggested that “animosity towards the US and Europe,” as well as the desire of countries like Brazil and South Africa to “assert their independence,” were to blame for the hesitation.

The WSJ report concluded that instead of focusing on Ukraine, non-Western nations would likely try to shift global attention to their priorities, such as global inequality and debt relief.

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