Current global crises require multilateral solutions, Germany tells UN

26 September 2008

Key issues facing the world today – ranging from bringing stability to Afghanistan and Pakistan, promoting peace in the Middle East and achieving disarmament – can only be solved by having all of the world’s nations pool their efforts, Germany’s Foreign Affairs Minister told the General Assembly today.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed that we must resist viewing the world through the lens of “oversimplified categories” such as good and evil, East against West and North against South.

“This is yesterday’s thinking,” he told the Assembly’s annual high-level debate. “It no longer has a place in today’s world. For us to resolve the problems of today and tomorrow, we all need more partners and not more opponents.”

Problems in areas such as Georgia, Afghanistan and the Middle East underscore the need for the establishment of a new stable world older, Mr. Steinmeier, who is also Deputy Federal Chancellor, said.

Likewise, the disarmament movement would gain momentum if a “global responsibility partnership” were to be created, he added.

Germany believes in dialogue and reconciliation, but “this does not mean dialogue for the sake of discussion without any results. Nor does reconciliation of interests imply we are prepared to abandon our own principles,” the Minister said.

But he reminded delegates of other pressing matters, such as the fight against hunger and poverty. “The pledges we made at the turn of the millennium must not remain a mere piece of paper,” he said, referring to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.

To accelerate progress towards these Goals, Germany will boost its poverty reduction and global fairness efforts, raising its Official Development Assistance (ODA) by $1.2 billion in the coming budget alone, Mr. Steinmeier declared.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underscored that the United Nations and the European Union (EU) share a responsibility to show that multilateralism works, that it delivers results and can address current and future crises.

“As organizations, the United Nations and the European Union embody a belief in the power of multilateralism,” Mr. Ban told a seminar on UN-EU cooperation in crisis management and security.

However, “if we are not effective, or are seen as compromised, competing visions based on more traditional balance of power concepts could take hold. Unilateral action could increase,” he cautioned.

 

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