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Sigmar Gabriel at the United Nations General Assembly

Fair balancing of the interests of all nations

Global problems cannot be resolved through confrontation, but by identifying shared interests, declared Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Strong, effective joint institutions like the United Nations are indispensable in this, he said.

Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. One important point in the speech given by Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was the need to work together to strengthen the UN Photo: UN Photo/Cia Pak

The motto "our country first" leads to more national confrontations and less prosperity, stressed Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in his speech to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday. Only "European and international responsibility first" has brought the German people peace and prosperity, he continued. That is why the European Union is today the framework of action for German policy.

We must work together to defuse nuclear confrontation

In his speech, Sigmar Gabriel looked in particular at the current nuclear confrontations in international policy. He made it clear, "The international community will not accept North Korea’s nuclear provocations." Alongside the swift implementation of the sanctions adopted, all diplomatic channels must be used to defuse the situation and identify a starting point for longer-term solutions.

North Korea’s nuclear armament is not a bilateral or a regional problem, he said. It is a global challenge. This makes it more important than ever to preserve the international architecture for arms control and disarmament.

Agreements must be respected

Existing treaties and agreements must not be called into question, quite particularly the nuclear agreement with Iran, reaffirmed Sigmar Gabriel. In this context he called for new trust between the USA, Russia and China. These are the countries that have a specially important part to play in enforcing the ban on the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Germany strongly engaged in crisis resolution

In view of the many crisis-affected regions in the world, Sigmar Gabriel pointed to the need to resolve crises and conflicts at an early stage. "Germany is engaged at political and humanitarian level, also with practical peace work in many crisis-affected regions of the world." This is why the resources made available by the German side for civilian peace measures have been tripled over the last few years, pointed out the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs.

As well as the increase in assistance it is providing for the Rohingyas in Myanmar, Sigmar Gabriel gave the example of Germany’s contributions to reconstruction and stabilisation measures in Iraq. Germany was also closely involved in hammering out the Minsk agreements in the Ukraine crisis.

Encouraging reform of the UN

In his speech the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs also supported the reform of the United Nations. "We must work together to make the United Nations more efficient and more effective." To this end, the member states must give the United Nations more funding and more leeway. "In return we need greater efficiency and transparency regarding the use of funds," said Sigmar Gabriel.

As the fourth largest contributor and one of the world’s major donors of humanitarian aid, Germany affirms its financial support for the United Nations and intends to make a substantial contribution in future too.

Candidature for the Security Council

As Sigmar Gabriel continued, Germany intends to work in partnership with all members of the United Nations – with a clear compass for peace and security, global justice and human rights. "And that is why my country is applying for a seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2019 and 2020."

Friday, 22 September 2017