British PM May defends multilateralism

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UNITED NATIONS: British Prime Minister Theresa May urged world leaders to defend the rules-based international order and its multilateral institutions yesterday, one day after US President Donald Trump had hailed national sovereignty.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Mrs May cited many dangerous challenges facing member states - from Syria's use of chemical weapons on its own people to terrorism to economic equality - and called for unity of effort.

"I believe that the only way for us to respond to this vast array of challenges is to come together and defend the international order that we have worked so hard to create and the values by which we stand," she said.

"For it is the fundamental values that we share - the values of fairness, justice and human rights - that have created the common cause between nations to act together in our shared interest and form the multilateral system."

Mrs May's comments marked a striking contrast to Wednesday's speech by Mr Trump, in which he used variations on the word "sovereign" or "sovereignty" more than 20 times. - AFP

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