"We stand firmly shoulder to shoulder with the United Nations"

UN Secretary-General António Guterres in Berlin "We stand firmly shoulder to shoulder with the United Nations"

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has visited Berlin to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. After addressing the German Bundestag, he met the Chancellor for talks – by video. Angela Merkel praised the UN, which she described as a "symbol of hope".

Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, leave the Reichstag building together.

Chancellor Angela Merkel accompanied UN Secretary-General António Guterres when he visited the German Bundestag.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Schacht

"I am delighted to be here and to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations with a strong, reliable and innovative partner," declared UN Secretary-General António Guterres during his virtual talks with Angela Merkel. He praised the resolute action taken by Germany and by the Chancellor personally in the field of international cooperation, an area that is currently facing huge challenges. 

The Chancellor declared that Germany would continue to stand firmly shoulder by shoulder with the United Nations "in order to drive forward common multilateral solutions". When the United Nations was founded 75 years ago it was "a symbol of hope" underscored Angela Merkel and added, "and still is today for many people – even if its work is often extremely complicated". In future, Germany intends to continue helping find peaceful political solutions to crises, such as those seen in Libya and Sudan at present. 

Important role in UN Security Council

As Germany’s non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council draws to a close at the end of the year, Secretary-General António Guterres pointed to Germany’s successful engagement as a global ally for peacebuilding and humanitarian assistance.

He gave the example of the Berlin Libya Conference, initiated by the German government with a view to enforcing the ceasefire, as well as Germany’s efforts to advance human rights at international level.

Vaccine must be accessible and affordable worldwide

In view of the massive challenges facing the international community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chancellor stressed the need to ensure fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, drugs and diagnostic tools. Angela Merkel and António Guterres agreed that these must be accessible and affordable worldwide.

In addition, however, the structures of the World Health Organization, which is the key player in the fight against the pandemic, must be enhanced, said Angela Merkel.

Joint efforts on climate action

The Chancellor cited international climate policy as another priority. Germany will continue to work for ambitious climate action, she said. The EU has sent an important signal here, under Germany’s Presidency of the EU Council. The agreement to cut CO2 emissions by at least 55 per cent of the 1990 levels by 2030 marks an even more ambitious target for the EU. Angela Merkel pledged that Germany will also engage in the international financing of climate action.

The UN Secretary-General described Germany as a driving force in realising climate targets. This gives Europe the potential to become one of the first regions in the world to achieve climate neutrality, he declared.

The Chancellor explained that development cooperation will also continue to be a focus of Germany’s international engagement. Even after the pandemic, Germany will be a reliable partner for the United Nations in this area.

António Guterres is the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, a post he has held since 2017. In his capacity as the UN’s top civil servant, he is not only responsible for managing the organisation, but is its top representative. He is "in equal parts, a diplomat and advocate, a civil servant and CEO, and is seen as the symbol of the United Nations and its ideals". 

Before his talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the UN Secretary-General met yesterday with Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas and today addressed the German Bundestag.

You will find more information published by the Federal Foreign Office here.

And here is the quiz to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.