Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier talks to the “Lübecker Nachrichten” newspaper about the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in the Hanseatic City. Published on 16 April 2015.
Was Lübeck a good host?
In recent days, the city of Lübeck has proved itself to be a cosmopolitan, welcoming and serene host, which is surely also a reflection of the fact that it has been a centre of international exchange since the 13th century. This proud and traditional Hanseatic City was therefore the perfect place for our discussions. The hospitality of Lübeck’s citizens in particular was impressive and made an important contribution to our productive talks. I would like, also on behalf of my foreign minister colleagues, to express my most sincere thanks for their generosity.
What result can you take from the meeting?
Lübeck is sending a signal of unity among the G7 countries. This is crucial for making progress in difficult conflicts such as in Ukraine and in Yemen, as well as in the fight against ISIS, and also in the nuclear negotiations with Iran. If the G7 did not stand together on these issues, then there would be little hope of making diplomatic progress in any of these conflicts. I believe that the Lübeck Declaration on Maritime Security is also of key importance. It is the first time ever that this essential topic has been discussed in the G7 format.
At the largely peaceful demonstrations, the protesters accused the G7 countries of wanting to carve up the world among themselves, of having only their own interests at heart. How do you respond to these accusations?
First of all, I am glad that, on the whole, the demonstrations were peaceful. This will surely have been met with great relief, and not only in Lübeck. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the police officers for their prudent and de‑escalating deployment. As for the demonstrators’ accusations, they are simply false and entirely at odds with reality. In Lübeck, representatives from seven major countries have worked intensively on political solutions for the many conflicts in our neighbourhood. It cannot seriously be in anyone’s interest for there to be a renewed escalation of the situation in Ukraine or for the nuclear talks with Iran to fail at the last hurdle.
Reproduced by kind permission of the Lübecker Nachrichten.