Statement by Ambassador Wittig, welcoming EU-HR Lady Ashton in the SC
I would like to join my colleagues in warmly welcoming Ms. Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to the Security Council today.
The briefing of the Security Council by High Representative Ashton comes at a timely moment. Recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt – both of them neighbours of the European Union - are of immediate relevance not only to the European Union and its Member States, but ultimately to the international community as a whole. Northern Africa and the Middle East are in a crucial phase of transition. Civil societies are claiming fundamental political and human rights and a new economic perspective for the future. Reforms are the only way forward. We have to adapt our policies with regard to the entire region. The European decision to grant special support to the transformation process is the right initiative responding to Egyptian requests.
Lady Ashton has also informed us about the meeting of the Middle East quartet in Munich which she chaired three days ago. Our common goal is very clear: We all want to see the State of Israel and a sovereign, independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security. Highlighting the urgency of meaningful negotiations on all final status issues, concluding by September 2011, committing to an active role of the Quartet and scheduling the next principals' meeting for March, the Munich statement is an important contribution to creating much needed momentum. The close contacts between the High Representative and the Secretary General over the last week is yet another indicator for the high level of cooperation between the EU and the UN.
Let me underline that this cooperation is built an a fundamental convergence of views: It is based on the idea that relations among states should be subject to the rule of law, founded on universal values and mutual respect. The EU believes in a multilateral, rule-based approach to world affairs. The EU itself was built by a process of negotiation and consensus among its current 27 member states, which has lead to a considerable pooling of sovereignty. Germany has been part of this unique peace-building and institution-building exercise from the beginning.
With the newly created External Action Service, implementing the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU is about to further improve its joint diplomatic capabilities and will become an even more effective international partner for the UN and for other regional organisations. When holding the EU-Presidency in 2007, Germany promoted the adoption of a joint statement on UN-EU Cooperation in Crisis Management. Exchanges between senior UN Secretariat officials and the Political and Security Committee of the EU on areas of cooperation have since become regular practice.
By definition, the European Union firmly believes in regional cooperation. The African Union and African subregional organisations are strengthening the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and working actively to settle conflicts in Africa through their peacekeeping missions and good offices. The EU supports these efforts - not only with financial means. The African Peace Facility, has helped to enhance AU peace support operations as well as institution and capacity building of the AU.
In Somalia, just to name one example, UN, AU and EU are closely cooperating and complementing each other in their efforts to help rebuilding sound state institutions, thereby creating conditions for peace and stability, and to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean. Through its ATALANTA mission, the EU contributes successfully to the protection of World Food Programme transports, thereby saving the lives of many ordinary Somalis. ATALANTA also plays an important role in protecting AMISOM transports and international shipping, so vital for the economies of the broader region. Following calls by the UN Security Council, the EU is, furthermore, training soldiers of the Transitional Federal Government in Uganda. This military training mission („EUTM Somalia“) aims at improving the security situation in Somalia – a precondition for tackling the problem of piracy as well as strengthening the rule of law in the country. The African Union´s AMISOM mission, which is substantially supported by the EU, has the very same objective.
In conclusion, let me reiterate that Germany remains committed to a strong partnership between the UN and the EU, building on shared values and common goals. We welcome the Security Council's recognition of the need for close cooperation with regional and subregional organisations in a PRST last year. We are confident that the cooperation between the EU and the UN will remain fruitful and look forward to a further deepening.