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Foreign Minister Steinmeier comments after a special meeting of the UN Security Council in New York

20.09.2014

Following a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Iraq, Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in New York on 19 September:

We took note today that ISIS has attacked further regions, this time in northern Syria. The city of Ain al-Arab and the surrounding towns and villages have been attacked and people have been forced to leave their homes. This shows how important today’s meeting here in New York was. 40 states came together at the Security Council to discuss joint action against a terrorist group which is seeking to conquer not only an entire state, Iraq, but an entire region.

And I believe we can say that this was not just a necessary meeting but one which will have an impact. For all states, including countries such as Russia, China and even Iran, condemned in the strongest possible terms what amounts to a return of barbarism in the Middle East, an unprecedented brutality towards human beings. And that is progress at least.

Of course, we cannot stop at the agreements reached today. For this is an intermediate step following what was agreed in Wales, what the Arab states agreed on in Jeddah, and we ourselves in Paris in the course of this week. We need to coordinate our international action with one another. Germany is prepared to play its part. And we have made some not so easy decisions, e.g. providing the Kurdish security forces with weapons so that they can withstand ISIS attacks. Others, the Americans and French, are providing air support. Yet other states stated today that they want to do more to help equip the Iraqi army and support training measures.

Our task is to coordinate military measures, but not just military measures. As many said today, our military instruments have to be anchored in a political strategy. We need a political strategy which, above all, has to have the support of Iraq’s neighbours. That means that the Arab states also have to have a unified approach. There has not been so much agreement among them in the last few years and it has become apparent that they have different interests. We need to take united action against ISIS, otherwise we will not be able to deal with these threats.

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