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A week focused on multilateralism

Decision-makers from all over the word will meet at the United Nations general debate.

Decision-makers from all over the word will meet at the United Nations general debate., © TASS

24.09.2019 - Article

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will travel to New York for the United Nations general debate. The following three topics will be important this week:

Foreign Minister Maas wants to join forces with other countries in New York to find lasting solutions and answers to current crises and future challenges. Along with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, he will lobby at the 74th General Assembly via the initiative for an alliance for multilateralism for a strong, rules-based international order. German foreign policy takes a multilateralist approach and focuses on the following three topics.

Strengthening disarmament and arms control

Germany is working to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons. At UN level, the German Government champions implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the ending of nuclear tests worldwide. 

During the General Assembly, Germany will demonstrate its support for disarmament and arms control at a wide range of levels. Germany and Algeria will take on the Co-Presidency of the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). And along with the Swedish Foreign Minister and counterparts from other countries that do not have nuclear weapons, Foreign Minister Maas will call for the Non-Proliferation Treaty to play a greater role in the United Nations.

Tackling crises together worldwide

Finding solutions to crises is often a protracted business. Peace talks have been put on ice, and parties to conflicts are often more interested in escalation than in de-escalation.  At the same time, there is the risk of humanitarian disasters, while simmering conflicts, for example in the Sahel region, threaten to cast entire regions into chaos.

Foreign Minister Maas firmly believes that peace can only be created by working together. Crisis prevention, stabilisation and post-conflict peacebuilding can only succeed if we join forces. The General Assembly brings together decision-makers from around the world, thus providing an opportunity to work together on solutions. The focus will be on the wars in Syria and Yemen, as well as on the civil war that has broken out again in Libya.

Defending (international) law

German foreign policy regards adherence to international law both during and after conflicts as a priority. On the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, international humanitarian law is under attack. Civil infrastructure such as hospitals have become targets, while humanitarian aid workers are denied access to people who need help. Germany supports the strengthening of international humanitarian law in the case of specific conflicts such as in Syria, but also in the form of the Humanitarian Call for Action with France.

During the week, Foreign Minister Maas will also call in the Alliance against Impunity for perpetrators of violence to be prosecuted in international courts. And along with like-minded countries, Germany will call for international criminal law to be defended and strengthened.

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