Most UN Members Sign Up to Migration Pact That Divided West

(Bloomberg) -- A large majority of United Nations member states rallied behind a non-binding pact on migration that was snubbed by the U.S. and caused divisions in Europe, including a government crisis in Belgium.

The 164 states that signed the pact Monday in the southern Moroccan city of Marrakesh agreed to ensure safe and orderly migration flows, regulate treatment of refugees, and recognize the vulnerabilities that migrants face and the benefits they can bring to their host communities.

In July, the text of the deal was approved by all 193 UN member states — except the U.S., which had earlier pulled out of the talks. Subsequently, other nations from Hungary and Poland to Australia and Chile have either rejected it or delayed a decision on signing.

Leaders who attended the ceremony included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, whose decision to sign plunged his government into turmoil. A nationalist party opposed to the UN agreement quit his governing coalition in protest over the weekend.

Speaking at the event in Marrakesh, UN chief Antonio Guterres dismissed what he called “falsehoods” that have been spread about the agreement, including that it will allow migrants to go anywhere they wish, or that it suggests migration is no longer needed in developed nations.

Most developed countries “need migrants across a broad spectrum of vital roles,” he said.

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