NAM, China Backs Venezuela, Gov’t Signs Anti-Nuclear Treaty

Led by Venezuela, one hundred and twenty member-states of the Non-Aligned Movement signed a declaration opposing unilateral sanctions and “coercive measures” Wednesday.


Member-states of the Non-Aligned Movement participate in Wednesday's meeting at the UN
Member-states of the Non-Aligned Movement participate in Wednesday's meeting at the UN. (Twitter/MNOAL-Venezuela)
By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas
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Bogota, September 21, 2017 ( - One hundred and twenty member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) voted to back a declaration against unilateral sanctions and “coercive measures” Wednesday, during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York. 

The meeting took place as part of the UN’s 72nd General Debate of the General Assembly. It was chaired by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and attended by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca.

According to Arreaza, the one-hundred and twenty member states “made a commitment to reciprocal assistance in the event of the imposition of unilateral sanctions, and we reject the threat of the use of force of one state over another”.

“The right to the self-determination of the peoples, state sovereignty, and political independence must be respected,” he continued. 

The six page document signed by member states was entitled the "New York Political Declaration". According to the text's preamble, representatives of each country carried out “an analysis of the international situation, particularly with respect to the approval and implementation of unilateral, coercive measures, in violation of international law and the human rights of the people subject to them”. 

Article six of the document emphasizes the bloc’s rejection of such measures and expresses “concern” over the continued imposition of sanctions to the detriment of populations the world over. 

During the debate, representatives from the governments of Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, and Palestine spoke of their own countries’ experience with sanctions and voiced their approval of the new declaration. 

“We are ready and committed to support our comrades in the rejection of coercive measures,” said the Palestinian representative. 

The bloc’s meeting comes after Venezuela — the current pro-tempore president of the Non-Aligned Movement — was slapped with economic sanctions in August by the US Trump administration. President Donald Trump also took aim at Venezuela in his address to global leaders at the UN General Assembly debate, threatening “further action” against the South American country.

Though the NAM declaration does not specifically name Venezuela, the bloc’s stance is an important boost for Caracas on the diplomatic world stage following weeks of criticism from the US and European world leaders. 

Support for the besieged administration of Nicolas Maduro also came from global heavyweights Beijing and Moscow at the UN.

In comments to his Venezuelan counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing emphatically “rejected” the generalized condemnation of the Venezuelan government from the US and Europe, reported Chinese state news agency Xinhua Wednesday.

“We in China believe that the government and people of Venezuela can resolve their problems within a legal framework and maintaining national stability,” said Wang Yi from New York. 

“China’s position towards Venezuela will not change,” he added. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also threw his government's weight behind Caracas, telling world leaders during his UN address that it was "unacceptable to use riots and the threat of use of force" in order to engineer political change in Venezuela. 

Arreaza is currently representing the Venezuelan government at the UN’s General Debate, where he has spoken out against US attempts to destabilise the elected Maduro government.

On Wednesday, he also signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on behalf of the Maduro administration, which commits the Venezuelan government to abstaining from the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. Adopted on July 7 by 122 states, the treaty is aimed at paving the way to a nuclear-weapon free world. 

“As a people of PEACE, the Bolivarian government of Venezuela adheres to the treaty for the PROHIBITION of nuclear arms. Peace and Dialogue!” tweeted the diplomat on Twitter. 

Como pueblo de PAZ, el Gobierno Bolivariano de Venezuela se adhiere al Tratado de PROHIBICIÓN de Armas Nucleares. ¡ Paz y diálogo !

— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) September 20, 2017