Foreign Minister Westerwelle on Germany’s membership in the Security Council

Dec 21, 2012

At the end of the year, Germany will finish its term as a non‑permanent member of the UN Security Council. On 19 December Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle presented to the Cabinet a review of Germany’s two-year term on the Council. 

The roughly 40‑page‑long report “Germany in the UN Security Council in 2011-12” summarizes the issues the Security Council has dealt with over the past two years. The changes which have swept through the Arab world have loomed large in the Council’s work during this time. But the Council has also continued to devote a great deal of attention to its traditional area of focus, the African continent.

Foreign Minister Westerwelle wrote in the forward to the report that it offered the reader an impression of the “remarkable array of issues and problems” addressed in the Security Council. Westerwelle wrote that the widespread image of the Security Council as dealing only with decisions about sanctions and military operations was too narrow. “What is always at the fore of the Council’s work is the struggle to find political solutions, to reach consensus on the political processes without which scarcely any violent conflict can be resolved for the long term, and without which lasting stability and peace remain unattainable.”

German areas of focus

The report also presents the particular emphases of Germany’s work in the Security Council, from chairing the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee to acting as lead coordinator on Afghanistan. Westerwelle wrote that the passage of Presidential Statements – on the security implications of climate change in July 2011 and in praise of the Arab League’s new role in September 2012 – showed that Germany had been able to bring important issues onto the Council’s agenda.

Broad-ranging engagement in the United Nations

Westerwelle said that while Germany’s influence within the United Nations would decline with its exit from the Security Council, “our work has gained international recognition”. And Germany’s engagement in the United Nations would remain broad-ranging and intense: as newly elected a member of the Human Rights Council as of 2013, as one of the most important financial contributors to the UN, and as a contributor of troops for UN missions in Lebanon, South Sudan and Darfur.

“For German foreign policy the United Nations remains an essential force for shaping our globalized world in accordance with rules and values,” Westerwelle said.

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