Speech by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the special session of the United Nations Security Council on ISIS on 19 September 2014 in New York

19.09.2014 - Speech

-- Translation of advance text --

Ladies and gentlemen,

thanks to Secretary of State Kerry for convening this meeting, and – John - thanks for inviting non-members along.

In Syria and Iraq we are witnessing the return of barbarism. We are faced with an enemy who is not only a threat for Iraq or Syria or the Middle East – but a threat for all of us. We need to act!

And fortunately, the international community has heard the call:

In Newport, Jeddah and Paris, nations met to confront ISIL together.

The UN Security Council consolidates the international alliance against this brutal enemy who is violating the principles of the UN Charter, who is violating humanity itself.

Next week, we will discuss joint action against ISIL among the G7 Foreign Ministers under our chairmanship and at the G7 Deauville Partnership Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

Here is what I think we need to do:

Still and first of all: humanitarian aid. We need to alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced. I would like to thank the “UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs” and other UN agencies for their hard work. Germany has so far provided 65 Million dollars for humanitarian aid and shelter.

I visited Erbil a few weeks ago and I was shocked by the dire situation of refugees. Now, with winter approaching, we must work even harder to provide shelter for those who fled the attacks of ISIL.

Humanitarian aid is necessary – but it is not sufficient to stop the violence. That is why the German government decided to provide the Kurdish security forces with weapons, ammunition, equipment as well as training. And, of course, we are doing so in close coordination with the government in Bagdad.

However: Even humanitarian and military assistance will be futile, if we lack a broader political strategy against ISIL: a strategy which is embedding the necessary military means and tools in a political strategy.

What are the aspects of the political strategy?

First, we have supported the formation of a new government in Iraq, which includes all ethnic, religious and political groups.

I wish Prime Minister al-Abadi every success. He has our full support. I welcome today’s agreed presidential statement, which demonstrates the support from all around the world, far beyond the middle-east!

Second, Syria, a battleground which is different from the one in Iraq and even more complex, Germany will continue to strengthen moderate voices and structures – they are the only alternative to dictatorship or terrorism!

We are grateful for the ongoing efforts of the UN, exploring the ground for a political solution, and we should coordinate our engagement very closely with the UN institutions. We hope that the UN Secretary General’s Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, will bring us new ideas and hopefully a new approach because we cannot allow ourselves to fail again in a third round of the Geneva Process.

It’s justified to concentrate today on Iraq and Syria. But we should not forget that some of the neighbour-states are bearing a huge burden.

To ease the hardship of the Syrian refugees, and the strain on Syria’s neighbours, I will host a conference, together with UNHCR, on 28 October in Berlin. The goal of this conference is to increase support for the countries most affected by refugee flows from Syria, namely Lebanon and Jordan, but also Iraq and Turkey.

Thirdly, we need to stop the flow of foreign fighters and finance to ISIL.

The UN Security Council will take further action. We welcome the planned Resolution on Foreign Terrorist Fighters. Yesterday, I met my new colleague from Turkey, and we agreed to cooperate closely.

We all are worried about the latest news after the attack of ISIS on the Syrian City Ain al-Arab and the surrounding villages.

History has shown that challenges as large as this can only be solved together! Germany is willing to do its share and to work together. And I hope that all sides, especially in the region, will lend their active support as well. If we come together on this, we will reach a new level of cooperation – and we will succeed.

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