Chile withdraws as APEC summit host after weeks of anti-government protests

Chile withdraws as APEC summit host after weeks of anti-government protests

The APEC summit was due to bring world leaders together in Santiago between November 16-17, while the COP25 climate event was scheduled to take place between December 2-13. But as the nationwide anti-austerity protests, triggered by a transportation fees hike, raged on, President Sebastian Pinera announced on Wednesday that both will be cancelled.

“This has been a very difficult decision, a decision that causes us a lot of pain, because we fully understand the importance of APEC and COP-25 for Chile and for the world,” Pinera said in a statement.

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Chile’s move caught the White House by surprise, an official told Reuters, saying that Washington had learned about Pinera’s decision from news reports and was looking for more information.

US President Donald Trump had previously said that ‘Phase One’ of a major trade deal between China and the US could be signed at the APEC summit.

The bitter socio-economic protests in Chile have been accompanied by clashes, riots, and military curfews introduced in the capital of Santiago. Sparked by the planned public transport fare increase, they later grew into a broader movement against the right-wing Pinera’s austerity policies. As of October 26, at least 20 people had been killed, while 6,000 had been arrested.

US officials have accused “foreign actors”specifically Russia – of stirring up the mass protests and “trying to undermine all Chilean institutions and society.”

In response, Moscow slammed Washington’s “knee-jerk desire” to blame everything on Russia, while not acknowledging the “consequences of imposing neoliberal economic ideas on other countries.”

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“We shouldn’t be surprised if soon US experts see ‘the hand of Moscow’ in the rejection of the Monroe Doctrine by Latin Americans regardless of their domestic political preferences,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, adding that in reality “Russia is interested in a stable Latin America that is politically and economically sustainable.”

Meanwhile, Malaysia is still set to host the APEC summit in 2020 and the organization said it supported Chile in its decision to cancel this year. As for the COP25 forum, the United Nations said it is “currently exploring alternative hosting options.”

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Published time: 2019-10-30 18:10:00
Source: www.rt.com