Diplomatic efforts focus on the situation in the Middle East: Foreign Minister Baerbock is travelling to the EU Foreign Affairs Council and to New York

Foreign MinisterAnnalena Baerbock speaking to the UN Security Council

Foreign MinisterAnnalena Baerbock speaking to the UN Security Council, © Thomas Koehler

23.10.2023 - Article

Foreign Minister Baerbock will meet with her EU counterparts in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss issues including the situation in the Middle East. On Tuesday, she will then speak about the Middle East at the UN Security Council in New York.

The potential for escalating conflict in the Middle East and the humanitarian situation facing the people of Gaza remain the focus of international crisis diplomacy. Foreign Minister Baerbock will today join EU talks about the situation, where she will promote a united stance and coordinate further steps. One issue on the agenda will be humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. The entry of the first aid deliveries into the Gaza Strip via Rafah on Saturday was “a sign of hope in these difficult times”, said Foreign Minister Baerbock.

Germany – the second-largest donor of humanitarian assistance worldwide – has increased its emergency assistance for Palestinians by another 50 million euro in light of the current situation. The EU, too, has announced that it will triple its humanitarian assistance for the suffering civilian population in Gaza, increasing it by 50 million euro to 75 million.

There will also be a discussion of ways to avoid a regional escalation. Foreign Minister Baerbock will speak about the insights she gained and the talks she held during her recent visit to Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and Egypt. The 27 EU member states have condemned the brutal and arbitrary Hamas attacks on Israel at the highest level and in the strongest possible terms. The EU continues to promote a lasting and sustainable peace on the basis of the two-state solution.

Current concerns of EU foreign policy – Ukraine and the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Also on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council are the situation in Ukraine and the EU’s and its member states’ ongoing support for the country in light of the Russian war of aggression. As winter approaches, one important task is to prepare critical energy and heating infrastructure to remain functional even in the face of targeted Russian attacks, by ensuring repairs and spare parts deliveries will be possible. Three weeks ago, Foreign Minister Baerbock attended an historic meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Kyiv – a sign of the EU’s steadfast solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Germany and the EU stand by the side of the people in Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s illegal war of aggression.

The simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan will be another item on the agenda in Luxembourg. After Azerbaijan’s military attack on the region of Nagorno-Karabakh several weeks ago, much of the local population has fled to Armenia – over 100,000 people, according to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR. The EU’s presence on the ground includes a civilian mission that is monitoring the situation on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The German Government is advocating greater EU support on the ground.

Foreign Minister Baerbock at the United Nations – the eyes of the world are on the Middle East

Flags of the member states in front of the United Nations Headquarters
Flags of the member states in front of the United Nations Headquarters© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.de

Following the meeting with her EU counterparts, Foreign Minister Baerbock will travel onwards from Luxembourg to New York, where she will speak at the Security Council on Tuesday about the situation in the Middle East. The Security Council is set to hold an open debate on the situation, organised by Brazil, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council. Within the United Nations system, the Security Council is the body primarily responsible for international peace and security. The focus in New York will be on preventing the Hamas terrorists from succeeding in their aim of driving a wedge between the members of the international community.

One of the key issues in the talks in New York will once again be humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian civilian population. The United Nations plays a crucial role in providing essentials to meet basic needs, including through its subsidiary UNRWA – a relief and humanitarian organisation charged with providing assistance and protection for Palestinian refugees. While in New York, Foreign Minister Baerbock will take the opportunity to hold bilateral talks on the fringes of the Security Council session.

Incidentally, the coming Tuesday is an important day for the United Nations for historical reasons, too: 24 October is United Nations Day, marking the anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations in 1945.


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