United Nations

Heiko Maas speaks at the UN General Assembly

At this time when global challenges are becoming increasingly complex, more, not less, international cooperation is needed, stressed Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, addressing the United Nations General Assembly. He called for the United Nations to be strengthened.

Diplomats listen to the speech in front of the UN General Assembly.

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas addresses the General Assembly. "We can only safeguard sovereignty if we work together."

Photo: Getty Images/AFP/Loeb

The Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations begins, "We the peoples". These words must be a constant reminder to the delegates at the United Nations of their mandate, declared Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in his statement to the 73rd UN General Assembly in New York. The pledge of the United Nations to defend the dignity and the liberty of all people must not be just hollow words. Honouring this pledge will be what motivates Germany as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, he added.

Stronger #UNited

In spite of the crisis of multilateralism, "which makes conflicts around the world appear irresolvable", a look at European history can give us hope, said Heiko Maas. "Europe has proved to the world that multilateralism and sovereignty are not a contradiction in terms. On the contrary, in a world faced with immense global problems, we can only safeguard sovereignty if we work together!" Maas advocated a reform of the United Nations, and declared that the Security Council in particular must become more representative and more inclusive. For some years now, Germany and its partners have been urging that countries of the global South and the major contributors to the UN budget should be better represented on the Security Council.

Sustainable peace processes in Syria and around the globe

The Federal Foreign Minister demonstrated a resolute stance on Syria. He stressed that a political peace process is indispensable for a long-term solution in Syria. To this end, the negotiations must be pooled and "talks must be organised under the auspices of the United Nations."

Germany, he assured, will make an active contribution to this political process. Probably before the end of October, a meeting is to be held with France, Turkey and Russia on the subject of Syria. This was announced on Friday by Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference held with the Turkish President who was visiting Berlin. The press conference preceded Heiko Maas’ statement in New York.

Acting together to prevent escalation

Not only in Syria, but in other conflicts too, it is indispensable to engage in negotiations and to take joint action in order to achieve sustainable peace processes – the joint Security Council sanctions on North Korea are a case in point. In this context Heiko Maas also praised the nuclear deal with Iran, which Europe will continue to uphold. "It has prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and averted an escalation that, three years ago, was highly likely! That is not insignificant!"

In view of the military conflicts in states like Iraq and Libya, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the support of member states for the peace mission of the United Nations. "To tackle the Herculean task of advancing functioning state structures, the United Nations needs our political support. "

Climate change – a challenge for us all

"Action based solely on nationalism, with the objective of 'putting my country first', reaches its limits here – not least because our climate knows no borders." The common action taken by the international community to address climate change is particularly important, stressed Heiko Maas. He reminded his audience of the devastating effect that climate change can have on the security and stability of entire countries and regions.

Germany accepts responsibility in the world

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas used his statement to the UN General Assembly to look forward to Germany’s membership of the Security Council. As of January 2019 Germany will take up its place as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. "It is an incentive for us to play our part in tackling the world’s crises – and to do so with courage and confidence, but without over-estimating ourselves." Germany will place its faith in dialogue and cooperation, and seek dialogue with civil society in order to lend a voice to those who find it difficult to make their voice heard at the UN.

During its membership of the Security Council, Germany aims to work above all for four core issues: peace, justice, innovation and partnership – all of which are the watchword of Germany’s foreign policy.

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