By John Irish
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron accused Russia of a modern day imperialism that was based on the law of the jungle and pleaded on Tuesday for neutral countries to stop being complicit by remaining silent about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a speech to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, Macron warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was dividing the world and restoring the “age of colonialism.”
“Those who remain silent today – despite themselves or secretly with a certain complicity – are serving the cause of a new imperialism, a contemporary cynicism that is destroying the world order,” Macron said in a 30-minute speech that called on countries to no longer sit on the fence.
“When I hear Russia saying it’s ready for new cooperation and a new international order without hegemony, that’s a tall story. On the basis of what? Invading your neighbour, non-respect of borders you don’t like. What’s this order? Who is hegemonic today? Russia,” he said.
Macron dismissed the narrative that the West was trying to defend outdated values to serve its interests and that the rest of the world had suffered because of it.
“I call on all the members of this assembly to support us on the path to peace and act to force Russia give up the choice of war so that it realises the cost on itself and us and ends its aggression,” he said.
“It’s not about choosing a camp between East and West, but the responsibility of everybody to respect the UN charter.”
Western powers are hoping to use this week’s gathering in New York to convince neutral states to apply more pressure on Moscow. Macron ended by stressing Russia’s limitations.
“Who was here during the pandemic? Who offers financing to help the climate transition? Not those who are coming to you today with the idea of a new world order. Not those who didn’t a have a vaccine that worked and offer nothing in the face of climate change,” he said.
(Reporting by John Irish; editing by Grant McCool)