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Foreign Minister Maas following a virtual meeting of the G7 Foreign Ministers

25.03.2020 - Press release

Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement today (25 March) following a virtual meeting of the G7 Foreign Ministers:

The G7 has a vital role to play at a time of global crisis. Particularly the strongest economies must now act together responsibly in a spirit of solidarity and look beyond their own interests. Germany wants to do everything that is possible and necessary in this regard.

Together with my UK counterpart Dominic Raab, we presented proposals in the G7 for the role we can play in helping to overcome this crisis. The Foreign Ministers agreed that the G7’s response should focus on the following areas in particular: we must tackle the immediate health-related consequences of the coronavirus and contain its spread through international cooperation in the development and provision of medicines and vaccines, and also through our support for the countries in the world that are the least well equipped to respond to the virus. At the same time, we need to take into account the dramatic economic consequences of the pandemic – particularly for global production and supply chains and therefore supplies of goods for us all – and come up with a common international response to protecting rules-based world trade. In the field of foreign and security policy, we need an early warning system for crisis developments worldwide as a consequence of Covid-19, and we must take stabilising elements for fragile states into consideration from an early stage. In terms of our approach, we have agreed that key elements of a coordinated G7 response to the crisis should now be agreed to on the basis of the proposals made by Germany and the UK.

In addition to Covid-19, we exchanged views on other international conflicts and crises in our capacity as G7 Foreign Ministers. Two months after the Berlin Conference, the situation in Libya continues to be volatile. The fact that the Government of National Accord and General Haftar have agreed to a humanitarian ceasefire following calls by the international community gives us cause for hope. Together with our international partners, we must continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the ceasefire is observed and that a political process under the aegis of the UN is pursued. To this end, we also discussed the implementation of the decisions of the Berlin Conference on Libya by the International Follow-Up Committee. Support for the Sahel region remains one of the G7 countries’ key priorities. We will continue to pursue our networked approach consisting of civilian, military and development policy elements.

In view of the catastrophic situation in Syria, substantial humanitarian aid is called for. The Federal Government has already pledged 300 million euros of support for 2020 and 25 million euros for shelters for refugees in Idlib. However, this can only be effective if humanitarian access is guaranteed – for example, through the UN’s cross-border support or humanitarian corridors. At the same time, we as the international community must continue to work for a political solution to the conflict under the auspices of the UN.

We are concerned about the ongoing domestic crisis in Afghanistan. What Afghanistan needs now is an inclusive government capable of taking action. This is the only way for progress to be made towards an intra-Afghan peace process. Any further troop reductions must be undertaken responsibly and prudently and should be directly linked to political progress and coordinated with NATO Allies.

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