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Germany's Heiko Maas and Jean-Yves Le Drian have unveiled plans for an "Alliance for Multilateralism." Canada, Japan and Australia have already shown interest in joining the German-Franco initiative.
Germany and France announced on Tuesday the creation of an "Alliance of Multilateralism" to promote global cooperation at a time of rising nationalism and isolationism.
The initiative will officially launch in September at the United Nations General Assembly, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said at a joint press conference.
Le Drian said he and Maas had spoken to Canada and Japan about the effort. Australia, India, Indonesia and Mexico could possibly join the initiative as well.
The alliance's first objective would be to show that countries that "support multilateralism and support the United Nations remain the majority in the world," Le Drian said.
The second objective would be to establish a network of countries ready to support multilateralism and cooperation, including joint efforts on inequality, climate change and the consequences of new technology.
"We are in a good position to show to the world what could be the consequences of unilateralism and isolationism, and enabling nationalist and extremist speech to flourish," Le Drian said.
Counter to US?
The move comes as the United States under President Donald Trump has cut funding for the United Nations, withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council, UNESCO and the Paris Climate Agreement and touted an "America first" foreign policy.
Le Drian and Maas stressed that the initiative is not directed against the United States. Maas said he would be happy for the US to join the effort, but added that members are expected to commit to a rules-based international order.
"We see multilateralism is under threat ... and all of those who want to join such an initiative (should) also declare themselves to be multilateralists," Maas said.
"In the end, everyone will have to decide on which side they're on," he added.
dv/amp (AFP, AP)