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Statement by Foreign Minister Maas prior to his departure for New York

20.09.2021 - Press release

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (20 September) prior to his departure for New York to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly:

The eyes of the international community are on Afghanistan. Now it has to join forces to prevent the humanitarian disaster that is looming. This issue will colour the 76th session of the UN General Assembly this week in New York. We will use the meetings to further coordinate our emergency assistance for the Afghan people, but also to clarify and consolidate our stance towards the powerholders in Kabul. To this end we will engage in dialogue within the context of the G20 and with our close transatlantic partners.

Our priorities are clear: we want to reduce the burden on Afghanistan’s neighbours in this serious crisis. In this context we support the move by the European Union to launch a platform for the states in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood. We also intend to provide targeted and life-saving assistance to those Afghans who are in need of it. In this task, the United Nations agencies are on the front line. The multilateral system has ways and means of tailoring assistance to those receiving it, and we want to exploit these to the full.

Libya, too, needs our engagement and the continued attention of the international community. We will discuss this in New York in the Berlin format. In order to achieve progress for everyone, the elections in December must result in the establishment of democratic institutions. That is above all what the Libyan people themselves are demanding. They are also calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops. That, too, will be on the agenda in New York.

Time is running out with regard to the nuclear agreement with Iran. The invitation to Tehran to return to the negotiations on the JCPOA cannot be extended indefinitely. The new government must now be quick to find its way back to the negotiating table. We will also be holding talks on this issue in the coming days.

Yet amid all crisis management efforts, we cannot afford to lose sight of the bigger picture. With the Alliance for Multilateralism, we have succeeded in bringing our values-based order through the winter of the Trump period. Now we need to press on with tackling the concrete issues that we can only resolve multilaterally: climate change mitigation, strengthening human rights and expanding the international health architecture, the gaps in which the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly revealed. It is high time for us to look ahead and prepare ourselves for future pandemics and their devastating consequences. That will be another priority issue over the coming days.

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