As Germany’s Foreign Minister, I have the honour to welcome you to this reception. But it’s not just a reception. It’s a birthday party.
“It is decided.” With these simple words, exactly 50 years ago, the President of the General Assembly made a historic announcement:
Germany – both the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic – joined the United Nations.
This is an important day for us. It is our birthday in the United Nations.
It marks the return of Germany into the international fold after the horrendous crimes committed by Germans in the Second World War.
We are grateful for the trust that UN Member States have put in us.
And we are mindful that, as a consequence, we have a special responsibility to stand by the UN Charter.
You can all rely on Team Germany in the UN. That is why we are here together – the Chancellor, the Minister for Development, the Minister for the Environment and myself as Foreign Minister.
Ambassador Antje Leendertse and her team live up to this spirit every day – just like so many of our partners and friends who are present here today.
Walter Scheel, who represented the Federal Republic as Foreign Minister 50 years ago, said on the day of Germany’s admission:
“If there is anything we have learned from our own bitter experience, then it is this: the human being is the measure of all things.”
This leads us to today. That is the yardstick for our work in the UN: to make a difference to the lives of men, women and children – everywhere in the world.
Thank you all for sharing this vision with us. And thank you for celebrating this birthday with us.
Together, we can make this sometimes hard and bitter, yet beautiful world a better place – every day.