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It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome you all to the Global Launch Event of the joint US-German initiative to counter threats emanating from unmanned aerial systems within the framework of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. We are very happy to host you here at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. We are convinced that we will have two days of fruitful exchanges on one of the hot security issues of our times: the dangers posed to states and societies worldwide by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the hands of terrorists.
How can our states provide security and stability for their citizens? In an era which is characterized by a multitude of intertwined risks – asymmetric warfare, disruptive new technologies and international terrorist networks – effective policy responses can only be developed in close cooperation with international partners. Germany attaches high importance to working within multilateral fora such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum. Within this forum, we are particularly delighted to advance this new initiative jointly with our close partners from the United States.
The transatlantic partnership has been a key pillar of European security and prosperity for many decades. Transatlantic efforts have also been at the core of the global fight against terrorism and in addressing many of the global security problems.
Today, it is important to expand this transatlantic security agenda to include new threats and to jointly develop policy responses to the misuse of new technologies, like the use of UAVs by terrorists.
We also see our cooperation as an excellent element of a wider framed transatlantic dialogue on unmanned aerial vehicles covering the very relevant questions of non-proliferation and international standards for their use.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Germany looks forward to entering the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member in January. We want to use our seat on the Security Council to help preserve the rules-based international order. The Security Council is at the heart of that order and bears the chief responsibility for international peace and security.
As during our last term on the Security Council, we are taking a comprehensive approach. Our stabilization efforts go hand in hand with the UN’s efforts to sustain peace. Prevention and stabilization are common denominators in all our endeavors.
We will also strive to make sure that the Security Council continues to exercise leadership in the fight against global terror as it has in the past. One recent example is Security Council Resolution 2370, which aims at preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons and specifically mentions UAV-technology in this context. The resolution calls on member states to strengthen cooperation and the exchange of good practices with civil society, the public and private sector to prevent terrorists from acquiring this kind of technology.
We see the joint US-German initiative within the Global Counterterrorism as taking place in this spirit and as an important contribution to translating the call of the United Nations Security Council into concrete action.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The scenario of non-state groups mastering a sophisticated technology like UAVs might have seemed unlikely just a few years back. It has now become a reality in crisis areas ranging from the Middle East to West Africa and it already poses a real threat to societies worldwide. Given the speed of proliferation of UAV-technology we are convinced that the time to develop effective countermeasures is now.
Let me Thank you once again for joining us here in Berlin. We are excited to have you here and to start working on this complex task together.