José Ramos-Horta calls for Australia to pressure the U.S

MELBOURNE, 06 AUGUST 2018 (STAR WEEKLY) — Australia must exert greater pressure on the U.S to help tackle world conflict and reduce the flow of people forced to flee their home countries, according to former Timor-Leste president Dr Jose Ramos-Horta.

Dr Ramos-Horta is currently the chair of the United Nations High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, reviewing UN peace-keeping operations around the globe.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, in Melbourne last week to launch his latest book and address staff and students at Victoria University, said the world is at a critical point in its history.

“Right now the international political situation is very complex,” he said.

“From the ongoing war in Syria and the ongoing war in Iraq to the situations in Libya, South Sudan, Mali, Myanmar and the situation between Israel and Palestine.”

Dr Ramos-Horta also singled out the US under the presidency of Donald Trump as a threat to world stability.

“You have serious political conflict between the US and its traditional allies NATO and the European Union,” he said.

“The US is unilaterally ignoring the UN and ignoring its responsibilities in international agreements.

“Under Trump a lot of damage will be done, and much of that damage will be long-lasting.”

Dr Ramos-Horta remains optimistic the global situation can be slowly turned around, but warns that US allies such as Australia must use any influence they can exert on the powerful nation to come to the table on issues such as climate change.

That quiet optimism is reflected in the title of his new book Words of Hope in a Troubled Time, writings collected from 1992 to 2017.

Dr Ramos-Horta said he elected to launch his book at Victoria University in recognition of his country’s close ties with VU.

“VU is one of the greatest partners of Timor-Leste, we have many Timorese students studying and getting their degrees there,” he said.

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