Reflections and challenges of Peru’s foreign policy
By Mr. Oscar Maúrtua de Romaña, Minister of Foreign Relations of the Republic of Peru
The Ministry of Foreign Relations of Peru and its diplomacy turn 200 years in 2021, a year in which we also commemorate the Bicentennial of our National Independence. The Ministry of Foreign Relations and the members of its Diplomatic Service have had an important participation in the formation of the Peruvian State and identity.
During the nineteenth century, the newly emancipated young South American republics had two main problems in establishing themselves as independent and sovereign States: international recognition and the definition of their territories. To do this, the first Peruvian diplomats concentrated their efforts on achieving recognition from their neighbours and the main powers of the 19th century. Peru, convinced that all people should be the masters of their own destinies, maintained the autonomy and independence of its foreign policy, positioning itself as a peaceful, cooperative and supportive new Republic.
To an ethnically and socially diverse country, the defense of the territory was decisive to the formation of the nation. Huge civic and military sacrifices were required, and in each case, Peruvian diplomacy had to negotiate peace, obtaining the best possible results in complex circumstances. The defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity contributed to the consolidation of a State and a nation committed with the freedom and self-determination of the people. Thus, Peru led various integration initiatives, such as the American Congresses of the 19th century, which achieved American solidarity against the intervention of extra-regional powers. Then, throughout the 20th century, it played a leading role in the creation of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific, the Andean Community, the Organization of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty, the South American Community of Nations and the Pacific Alliance.
Peru understands that its own and collective well-being can only be achieved by maintaining peace and solidarity among nations, with respect for international law that protects the rights of the people. For this reason, it has always been committed to multilateral efforts in favor of international peace and security, such as in the formation of the League of Nations and the United Nations, in the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, in the Group of 77, in the promotion of decolonization and nuclear disarmament, and in the pacification of Central America. Moreover, in all the efforts that the United Nations have deployed in different parts of the world to maintain international peace and security, highlighting the figure of the two-time Secretary General, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.
In recent decades, Peruvian diplomats have played a central role in the conclusion of pending border issues with Ecuador and Chile, in the creation of the International Criminal Court, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter. They had also achieve the membership of Peru in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), and now are working actively to promote the admittance of Peru in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Today, they are leading our efforts to face the Venezuelan migratory crises and the Covid-19 pandemic, promoting bilateral and multilateral actions in all the spaces in which Peru participates.
The defense and promotion of these principles, in accordance with the permanent interests of Peru, have contributed to the construction of a cultural heritage that has integrated into Peruvian society the civic and republican values that today defined our identity. However, every society is a project in development, which requires that the concrete expression of these values reach all Peruvians and, by extension, radiate to other societies in the world.
Aware of these challenges, the Government of President Pedro Castillo promotes a national, autonomous, democratic, social and decentralized diplomacy, which emanates from Peru’s need to bring the benefits of development to the more needed population with justice in opportunities and without discrimination.
On the other hand, the Covid-19 crisis has reaffirmed the need to revitalize border integration processes, since they allow the geographical neighborhood to be valued in favor of economic and social development. To boost these processes, Peru created Binational Cabinets with Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, which are hold every year. All this, in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals and the commitment with multilateralism to overcome moments of growing uncertainty and deep economic, social, and environmental imbalances.
In that sense, in his speech to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), President Castillo reaffirmed the need to work together to end social inequalities, to fight against corruption, and to ensure that feeding, education and health are constitutional rights and not just services. Likewise, during his participation in the 76th General Assembly of the United Nations, President Castillo proposed an agreement between the heads of State and the manufacturers of the vaccines so that they reach all people in all countries, ensuring their fair and equitable distribution. In the year of our bicentennial, Peru shows itself to the world as a democratic country, committed to a realistic social transformation within the framework of the rule of law and the respect for human rights, with macroeconomic stability, and an agenda for development in line with the objectives of the United Nations.
In addition to the United States and China, the European Union is one of Peru’s main partners, with whom we share a special affinity in values and vision of development. The Netherlands has a long relationship that goes back to 1826, being one of the first countries to recognize Peru as an independent state. In 2026, we will celebrate 200 years of diplomatic relations.
Peru especially welcomes the support of the Netherlands and Russia, with the facilitation of Norway, in the negotiations that are taking place in Mexico between the Government and the Venezuelan opposition to find a peaceful and sustainable solution to their crisis. This shows that Peru and the Netherlands coincide on the necessary actions to face the challenges of the international community in an increasingly complex and changing world, in which the States will continue to play a central role in the search for the welfare of all people on Earth.