Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (2 December) following the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting:
When differences on the right way forward threaten ever more often to cause a serious rift, it is time to take action. At a time when global collaboration and cooperation can no longer be taken for granted, NATO’s cohesion remains our life insurance. Last year, I initiated a process of reflection to ensure that we move even more closely together politically. During the last two days, we were able to discuss the first results of this process. The key question that will remain with us is: how should we as an alliance based on democratic values position ourselves in the face of the shifts in the global power equation.
That is necessary, for this trend will gain momentum in the coming decade. In light of the role played by China, which is increasingly becoming a global military player, we have to find a well-balanced course. We have begun a political discussion to this end. Our relations with China offer opportunities which we want to seize, and challenges for which we want to prepare ourselves. Nationally, we have already made our contribution with our policy guidelines on the Indo-Pacific region. With regard to our security policy, we want to engage in an in-depth discussion within NATO on this matter.
We have used the last few years to strengthen Europe’s responsibility – also in Europe’s neighbourhood. We agreed today that we as Europeans must continue resolutely down this road with a view to building a strong and sovereign Europe within NATO. This is absolutely vital given the many crises in our neighbourhood and the role played by Russia, for example in Ukraine or in Georgia. If the burdens and tasks are distributed fairly across the Atlantic then we will be able to widen our political focus, too – for the benefit of all Allies. It goes without saying that, first and foremost, we have to end any quarrels among Allies. All NATO allies should aim for cooperation rather than stirring up conflicts which quickly fizzle out on the domestic front and undermine mutual trust.
We as NATO allies together with partners have invested much in Afghanistan in particular, and we have demonstrated our solidarity. Therefore, one of the issues we discussed yesterday was how we can safeguard the hard-won rights for many sections of the population. In our view, a troop drawdown must be linked to clear conditions. We should not be too ready to give up this lever in the peace process. We owe that to Afghanistan’s society. For it is crucial that the Afghan people do not slide back into war, chaos and even more violence.