On the last leg of her US trip, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht paid her first official visit to the United Nations in New York, meeting UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The talks focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine, Germany’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2027, and German participation in UN peacekeeping operations.
Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht has paid her first official visit to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. In these challenging times, talks on the last leg of her US trip once again revolved around Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and its global implications. “It is our responsibility to ensure that Ukraine receives support in this terrible war, but we must also find ways of averting a humanitarian disaster in its wake”, the Minister stated. The United Nations is faced with the fact that the President of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, vested with veto power, has started a war of aggression in violation of international law. The overwhelming majority of the global community is closing ranks in the UN General Assembly. Minister Lambrecht said that all initiatives were important now, including those of the UN Refugee Agency or the World Food Programme. The Minister specifically thanked Secretary-General Guterres for this work.
The Federal Republic of Germany is active in many different UN agencies and is the fourth-largest contributor in terms of funding. Germany participates in peacekeeping operations, provides military observers and is actively involved in the areas of air transport, logistics and medical support. In its coalition agreement, the Federal Government has committed to further strengthening the United Nations: not only with funding, but also at the political level, and with personnel. Germany is playing an active role: The Bundeswehr currently participates in four peace operations and provides the largest European contingent to MINUSMAMultidimensionnelle Intégrée des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation au Mali, which also represents the largest ongoing operation of the Bundeswehr. And Germany is always ready to fill key military positions in UN missions. There is also strong support for the UN’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) reform initiative. Besides being active in Training and Capacity Building, Germany is engaged in the field of Women, Peace and Security, which aims to enhance the role of women in peacekeeping.
A more urgent topic was the situation surrounding the German involvement in Africa, specifically the Sahel region and Mali. In May, the mandate for Germany’s participation in the MINUSMAMultidimensionnelle Intégrée des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation au Mali mission will end. Minister Lambrecht emphasised that certain conditions would have to be met for an extension: It was critical to ensure the best possible protection for German military personnel. “This is my responsibility”, the Minister added. She went on to say that ways of guaranteeing this protection would have to be found following the redeployment of the French troops and their attack helicopters from Mali. This gap would have to be filled in order to continue the UN mission in Mali. In contrast to EU-led EUTMEuropean Union Training Mission in Mali, the Minister believes that for MINUSMAMultidimensionnelle Intégrée des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation au Mali, an extension of the German mandate is still possible, although no solution has been found yet.