Jacinda Ardern defends that the result of the NATO summit should not be rearmament but “de-escalation” | International

The NATO summit taking place this week in Madrid must not end, according to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in a “further escalation and proliferation of nuclear weapons.” Despite the investments planned by the members of the Atlantic Alliance to strengthen the eastern flank of Europe in the face of the threat from Russia, the president has indicated that the agreements reached should not lead to “greater destruction, but rather a greater de-escalation, peace and stabilization of the world order and international law”. “Our perspective” will be to promote the destruction of weapons, she added during the Tech4Democracy conference (Technology for democracy) held this Tuesday in Madrid at the IE University.

“New Zealand is not a member of NATO, but we must support Ukraine,” said the president, whose country is participating in the summit as a member of the group of four NATO partner countries in Asia-Pacific. “The war in Europe” caused by “a bad actor who is forcibly disrupting the global order,” alluding to Russian President Vladimir Putin, “has very deep ramifications” and is “a challenge for all nations because it affects to world peace.”

The prime minister has assured that her country will continue to support Ukraine by sending humanitarian aid and military training. Wellington, she announced in March, is also providing kyiv with non-lethal weapons, fuel for military vehicles, first-aid kits or rations for soldiers. “When the international order is in danger, it puts us all in danger,” she added. She even, she has reiterated, also to New Zealand, although she is “on the other side of the world”.

Ardern stressed that the Putin-orchestrated invasion of Ukraine has shown how “the nature of conflicts has changed.” “The war in Ukraine is not only carried out with tanks and missiles, but there is also an information war.” “If there is a debate between what is reality and what is fiction, then it is incredibly difficult as a leader to generate enough consensus to govern”, protested the prime minister, who considers that a perverse use of technologies can “undermine the democracy”, as has happened with disinformation campaigns about the coronavirus pandemic or the climate change crisis.

Jacinda Ardern, this Tuesday in Madrid during her speech at the Tech4Democracy conference organized by IE University.
Jacinda Ardern, this Tuesday in Madrid during her speech at the Tech4Democracy conference organized by IE University.Manu Kingdom

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Among the dangers generated by technology that Ardern considers necessary to combat, he has pointed out the use of networks to promote ideological or religious radicalization. New Zealand, as the president recalled, is an example of how the Internet amplifies conflicts and has alluded to the terrorist attack that the country suffered last September, when a supporter of the Islamic State caused several injuries in an attack on a supermarket. However, and despite the fact that “technology can be used for evil” it is also, according to Ardern, “a source of hope for future generations and an integral part of the social fabric” that can help strengthen communities.

The Prime Minister, known for her feminist activism, has also ruled on the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to suspend the constitutional right to abortion. “There is an unofficial agreement in international politics not to interfere in the domestic politics of other countries, but abortion is not a matter of domestic politics, but rather a basic right of women,” Ardern extolled. In 2020, the New Zealand Parliament approved a legal reform that decriminalized the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in the first 20 weeks of gestation without giving any reason.

Alliance to Strengthen Democracies

On the eve of the NATO summit, Jacinda Ardern met with the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, at the Moncloa Palace where they officially launched the Association of Global Values, an initiative that seeks to move towards “inclusive societies and more egalitarian, a greener and more sustainable economy and a vibrant and resilient democracy”.

In a joint statement after the meeting, the two governments have picked up this initiative, “the fruit of the shared vision between Spain and New Zealand for the world they wish to shape together”. According to the document, Madrid and Wellington undertake “to coordinate more closely their efforts to address global challenges and move towards an agenda of reinforced multilateralism based on rules in which the United Nations Organization occupies a central place”.

In addition, among other agreements, they have committed to closer collaboration in other initiatives such as the network of leaders Together for a reinforced multilateralism and have opted to facilitate the residence and work of young Spaniards in New Zealand and vice versa.

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