Westerwelle in NY for Busy UN General Assembly
Enlarge image Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle meets UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, in New York on September 23, 2012. (© picture alliance / dpa) Foreign Minister Westerwelle is taking part in the opening week of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Foreign Ministers, as well as Heads of State and Government from around the world traditionally come together every September for Ministerial Week. This year it starts on September 25 and ends on October 1. In the run-up to the high-level meetings, Westerwelle met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on September 23.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle stated on September 23 that Germany wanted to strengthen the United Nations. “We support the work done by the General Assembly.” He also called for progress to be made in the UN reform process. “If the United Nations doesn’t become more representative of the world of 21st century, its role and legitimacy will be undermined in the long run,” Westerwelle said.
Syria to be one of the main issues
He discussed the most important issues of the coming week with Ban Ki-moon, including the dispute surrounding Iran’s nuclear program and the efforts to end the violence in Syria. This will be one of the main topics during the general debate.
Enlarge image Westerwelle met with General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic. (© Photothek / Th. Imo ) “The international community cannot remain silent in the face of this terrible violence,” said Westerwelle after his talks with Ban Ki-moon. Therefore, he went on to say, he welcomed the clear stance taken by key Arab leaders – for instance Egypt’s President Morsi – who had condemned the violence perpetrated by the Assad regime.
On September 24, Westerwelle is meeting Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria. The latter traveled recently to Syria and the region for talks to explore ways of resolving the conflict. He will brief the UN Security Council on the outcome of his trip.
In addition to the situation in Syria, a number of other issues will be discussed during the general debate. According to Ban Ki-moon, this year’s general debate will be among the busiest ever. “This reflects the tumultuous times in which we live – a time of turmoil and transition,” he said in advance of the debate.
Enlarge image United Nations headquarters in New York (© picture-alliance/dpa) Foreign Minister Westerwelle will have numerous meetings in New York – this is due in particular to the fact that Germany holds the rotating Security Council Presidency this month and he is thus the President of this key UN body. In this capacity, he will chair a high-level Security Council session on peace and security in the Middle East on September 26. Germany will remain a non-permanent UN Security Council member until December 31, 2012.
Westerwelle is expected to address the General Assembly on behalf of Germany on September 28. He will be preceded, in protocol order, by Heads of State and Government.
Meetings will include the following:
- a meeting of G8 Foreign Ministers with the Foreign Ministers of the Arab transition countries on the Deauville Partnership on September 28,
- high-level meetings of the Friends of the Syrian People and the Friends of Yemen,
- a meeting on the Sahel at the invitation of the UN Secretary-General on September 26,
- a G4 Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Security Council reform. Alongside Germany, the other members of the G4 are Japan, India and Brazil. Together they want to advance the debate on reform.
Annual general debate
The annual general debate provides the 193 UN member states with an opportunity to express their views on major international issues. Key topics which will be discussed this year include the Millennium Development Goals, climate change and sustainable development, disarmament, food security and UN reform. General Assembly President Jeremic has proposed that the peaceful resolution of international conflicts be the overarching theme.