Fri, Feb 17, 2012 - Page 2 News List

UN agency access near, diplomat says

ARTICULATION:The UN representative for St Vincent and the Grenadines said Taiwan’s allies were busy explaining to UN agencies the form of participation Taipei envisions

Staff Writer, with CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou, right, shakes hands with Permanent Representative to the UN for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Camillo Gonsalves, center, at the Presidential Office on Tuesday as the UN ambassadors for the Dominican Republic, left, and the Gambia look on.

Photo: CNA

A visiting diplomat stationed at the UN yesterday expressed confidence that Taiwan would soon gain greater access to UN agencies and specialized organizations as a result of its own efforts and the work of its allies, and not necessarily because of China’s goodwill.

Taipei’s diplomatic allies will collaborate with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), elected to a second term last month, on a complex set of strategies to achieve Taiwan’s meaningful engagement in the activities of the UN’s specialized agencies, said Camillo Gonsalves, permanent representative to the UN for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Each UN agency or specialized organization has its own rules of procedure and its own standards for determining membership and participation,” Gonsalves said in an interview.

In addition, he said some of those agencies might be staffed by bureaucrats who have a flawed understanding of the type of participation that Taipei is seeking.

St Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Taipei’s other diplomatic allies in the UN, are working to help the agencies understand how Taiwan is seeking to be involved in compliance within the limits of the diverse statutes, charters and rules of the organizations, Gonsalves said.

“It is painstaking work, but it is not necessarily reliant on the generosity of mainland China,” he said.

Taipei’s access to UN agencies and specialized organizations “is more dependent on the work done by Taiwan and its allies in advocating such access on the basis of the principles of fairness and logic,” the representative said.

“I am confident that Taiwan will soon enjoy greater and more meaningful participation in the work of the UN agencies and specialized organizations,” said Gonsalves, who is visiting Taiwan for meetings with several senior government officials, including Ma.

Gonsalves and the UN ambassadors for the Dominican Republic and the Gambia are being briefed on Taiwan’s evolving foreign policy dynamics — both cross-strait relations and Taipei’s goals at the UN.

In a meeting with the three ambassadors on Tuesday, Ma discussed his vision and priorities for the nation’s future, highlighting the continuing value of the relationships between Taipei and its allies, Gonsalves said.

“He gave us a full explanation of his concept of viable diplomacy and his vision for cross-strait relations for his new term,” he said.

“We, the allies of Taiwan, will have to be more involved with the Taiwanese government in closely coordinating our strategies and tactics,” Gonsalves said.

Regarding how Taipei’s allies at the UN are responding to deepening ties across the Taiwan Strait, the representative said his own country was taking a more nuanced approach toward Taiwan.

“In the past, we were very strident in pushing for the full and immediate recognition of Taiwanese sovereignty and the rights of Taiwan to be fully involved in all facets of international political activity,” Gonsalves said. “Today, such an approach would likely destabilize the delicate cross-strait balance or damage the important building of trust between the two sides.”

Gonsalves’ country is now focused on ensuring that Taiwan is able to participate meaningfully in the many specialized agencies at the UN that deal with critical matters of global importance, he said.

Issues such as disease and climate change do not respect national boundaries or political realities, he said, adding that Taiwan has had to deal with problems such as typhoons, floods, pollution, SARS, the influenza A(H1N1) virus and HIV/AIDS.

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