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Speech by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the virtual event “Germany's role in the United Nations”

29.06.2021 - Speech

Lieber Herr Botschafter Heusgen,
Ambassadors, Excellencies,
and friends,

As diplomats, many of you are probably used to bidding farewell to close colleagues and friends. In a way, it is part of your job description. So, maybe it speaks for the fact that I am a politician and not a diplomat when I tell you today that I will never get used to these goodbyes.

Lieber Herr Heusgen, dear Christoph,
It is with a heavy heart that we see you go. But I am glad to be able to accompany your final steps as Germany’s Ambassador to the United Nations – even if only virtually, from the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting here in wonderful Bari.

I will never forget the great conversations we had during my many visits to New York. I hope you, too. We celebrated our election to the Security Council together. We fought side by side for humanitarian access to Syria, for women in conflict situations, for human rights and accountability across the globe.

You made the European Union visible in the Council. I am sure many of you will remember the stake-outs of European Ambassadors after the meetings.

You stood up to pressure, even when it came from unexpected corners. Because you knew that you were fighting for the right cause.

For the cause of the people – whether they be a survivor of sexual violence from Congo, a prisoner in Xinjiang or a torture victim in one of Assad’s prisons.

This might have angered a few.

But it has inspired many.

And it has lent your voice, Germany’s voice, the qualities that are most important in international diplomacy: credibility, reliability and trust.

So, thank you, Ambassador Heusgen, for your outstanding service. We wish you  all the best for the future. And I am confident that our paths will cross again soon.

Ladies and gentlemen,
On the topic of this meeting, let me assure you that Germany remains a strong supporter of the international order and of the United Nations in particular.

Together with many of you, we have launched the Alliance for Multilateralism. Because we believe that multilateral solutions are fairer and more sustainable.

To underline this, the German Government has recently presented its first White Paper on Multilateralism. It shows how the multilateral order delivers benefits to the people – ranging from cleaner air to vaccines in a pandemic.

And it defines, ladies and gentlemen, areas where we need to improve the existing international order.

These discussions must take place within the United Nations – together with all of its Member States and in particular with those who are most affected by climate change, poverty and conflict.

Together, we need to work towards a global partnership that benefits everyone. Germany stands ready to do so, as we are running again for the Security Council for the 2027-2028 term. And we hope for your support and partnership.

So, once again, many thanks to you, Ambassador Heusgen! And the very best to all of you from here, from beautiful Bari!

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