General Debate
    His Excellency
    Frank-Walter Steinmeier

    Statement summary

    FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, President of Germany, called on the world to learn the lessons from the failure in Afghanistan, which contained three messages for foreign policy:  be more honest, be smarter and be stronger.  In this regard, he called on States to extend their diplomatic, military, civilian and humanitarian approaches to find potential solutions and common ground for all.

    Turing to increased military expenditures during these uncertain times, he emphasized that “military strength without the will to forge understanding, without the courage to engage in diplomacy, does not make the world more peaceful,” stressing Germany’s bid for a seat on the Security Council for the 2027-2028 term.  “We failed on many things in Afghanistan.  But, our failure should not be cause for schadenfreude for others,” he continued, calling on the major Powers — the United States, China and the Russian Federation — to shoulder a particular responsibility.

    He went on to urge European countries, including Germany, to do more for their own security and continue their multilateral efforts in Libya, eastern Ukraine and the Middle East, and called on Iran to return to serious negotiations regarding the renewal of the nuclear agreement.  Europe needs a strong common foreign and security policy, he said, in order to seek cooperation with China and demand Beijing respects human rights and international law, as well as the legitimate interests of its neighbours.

    On COVID-19, he noted that Europe is contributing one in three COVAX vaccine doses, and as the world’s second-largest donor, Germany would contribute at least another 100 million additional doses by the end of 2021.

    Recalling the devastating floods in western Germany this summer which killed almost 200 people, he further stressed the existential threat of climate change, calling on States to make strong decisions together at the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) and to close the wide gap between ambitious goals and concrete policies.



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    Portrait of His Excellency Frank-Walter Steinmeier (President), Germany
    UN Photo credit.

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