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H.E. Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister for Foreign Affairs

September 2008

Statement Summary

FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, said the end of the East-West confrontation in the early 1990s seemed to have marked the dawn of a new age of effective multilateralism and a new renaissance for the United Nations, but disillusionment had now set in, as time and again conflicts needed to be resolved that had roots in a past that only seemed to have been left behind.  Indeed, the United Nations mandate had lost none of its urgency in 2008.

In Georgia, an entire region found itself “on the abyss of war and destruction” where common sense had not prevailed on all sides.  Moreover, in Afghanistan, the situation was even more precarious.  Without security, Afghanistan would not and could not develop, despite the millions of children, many of them girls, who were now going to school.  When compared to the deteriorating security situation, the gains were not progressing fast enough.   Afghanistan must not be left on its own, he said, and Germany intended to do even more in that regard.

Additionally, it was crucial to help Pakistan to master the economic and social challenges it now faced, as Pakistan’s internal stability was crucial to stability in the whole region.  He went on to stress that an Iran armed with nuclear weapons would pose a treat to security in the entire Middle East and trigger a nuclear arms race.  The Iranian side needed to end its delaying tactics to avoid exhausting the international community’s patience.  The Iranian President’s remarks on Israel were unacceptable, and the anti-Semitism expressed was outrageous and should be condemned by the international community.

He went on to say that more people were dying each day from hunger than from armed conflict, and Germany intended to step up its efforts to promote poverty reduction by increasing its development assistance by $1.2 billion.  Turning to Africa, he said it had been perceived as a region of wars and conflicts for too long and deserved the global community’s partnership and support.  Additionally, he stressed that it was no longer possible for any country to act as if it were immune to “undesirable developments”, as recklessness, greed and a lack of common sense among some players had set the global economy back years.

In closing, he said that a strong and effective United Nations which enjoyed the confidence of the international community and the requisite legitimacy to form an umbrella for a global responsibility partnership was urgently needed.  Security Council reform was also overdue, as that 15-nation body should reflect the realities of current world politics.   

[Source: GA/10756]


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