Security Council: Statement by Foreign Minister Westerwelle on the Middle East

Sep 26, 2012

(Security Council: Statement by Foreign Minister Dr. Guido Westerwelle at a High-level meeting of the Security Council on Peace and Security in the Middle East)

- as delivered -

Your Excellency Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon,

Your Excellency Mr. Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Nabil Elaraby,

Distinguished colleagues,

Since Germany began its current term in the Security Council in January 2011, we have witnessed dramatic changes across the Near and Middle East.

The people in the region have expressed their hopes for dignity, democracy, for economic and social participation, for prosperity and for the respect of their fundamental human rights.

At the beginning we have spoken of the Arab Spring. We have learned it would be better to speak of Arab Seasons.

The movement for change in the Arab world has not followed the same pattern in every country. Indeed, more than ever the situation varies from one country to the other. But the process of change is continuing. 

We are all concerned about the recent turmoil in many Arab countries in response to a shameful anti-Islam video. Let me be very clear: I can understand very well that believers feel deeply offended by this horrible and shameful video.

But the response to such provocations cannot be violence. There is no justification for violence and murder.

Excellencies,

What we are witnessing now is not a confrontation of religions, nor is it a clash of cultures.

What we are witnessing now is a clash within societies. It is a struggle of the open-minded with the close-minded. It is a struggle of the reasonable with the fundamentalists. It is a clash of the peaceful with the violent.

This week is to strengthen those in all societies all over the world who stand up for respect and tolerance. For those who know that freedom and responsibility are but two sides of the same coin.

There is no doubt where Germany stands. Now more than ever we are with those who work for peace.

We see the challenges, but we believe in the historic opportunities that the change in the Arab world is opening up.

Germany´s offer for a transformation partnership to provide education, jobs and growth continues to stand.Excellencies,

The League of Arab States has assumed a leading role with regard to regional peace and security. It has taken a clear stance on the conflicts in Syria and Libya.For the Syrian people, however, the perspective of peace still seems a distant dream.

As the international community, we must be united to stop the violence and help initiate a process of political transition. We must find a common response. We owe it to the people.

We appreciate the active leadership of the Arab League to halt the killing in Syria.  

Excellencies,
the change in the Arab world has made peace in the Middle East more urgent than ever.

Negotiations are the way to achieve a two-state solution that satisfies the legitimate demands of both sides, the Israeli and the Palestinian.We must therefore ensure that the peace process remains a priority on the international agenda.

By endorsing the Saudi Peace Initiative, the League of Arab States has made a constructive offer that is of critical importance.  

Excellencies,

We believe that it is necessary to solidify and develop the cooperation between UN and Arab League. The commitment of the Arab League to the values enshrined in the UN-Charta is  the basis for more cooperation.

Above all, more focus is needed on what we can achieve together in the areas of conflict prevention and resolution. We need practical progress: For instance, we could think about more frequent briefings and consultations with representatives of the League of Arab States. I would also welcome the establishment of a UN office in Cairo to improve cooperation with the Secretariat of the Arab League.

The time has come. As the Arab world undergoes historical change let us seize the opportunity to open a new chapter of cooperation between the League of Arab States and the United Nations.

Thank you.

© GermanyUN

Peace and Security

Regional conflicts, fragile or collapsed states, armed conflicts, terrorism and organized crime – all have grave consequences for the people who suffer under them. They also threaten the security and stability of entire regions and peoples.

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