The world needs 'more United Nations,' new German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass has said. He is promoting Germany's claim to be elected to one of the 10 non-permanent Security Council seats.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the first time as Germany's top diplomat in New York on Wednesday. He was also due to speak to US Ambassador Nikki Haley and representatives of African states.
"We are living at a time when we need more United Nations, not less, as some people believe," Maas said as he arrived at UN headquarters, in an evident reference to criticisms of the organization made by US President Donald Trump.
"We take responsibility and we want to continue to take responsibility in the future," Maas said.
He added that in the era of fake news there needed to be a way for reason and rationality to prevail.
Maas said the German aim was to prevent crises: "We don't want only to turn to issues when it's too late and there is only the option to contain things. We want to consider how we can prevent conflicts from happening in the first place."
A major UN contributor
"Germany plays an active political, financial and increasingly staffing role in the UN," Maas said in a statement. "Not only are we the fourth-largest contributor to the regular and peacekeeping budgets, we are also the second-largest donor to humanitarian assistance and official development aid.
"Germany has become one of the largest Western troop-contributing nations to UN peacekeeping," Maas noted.
On Tuesday, Maas had met with representatives from Caribbean and Pacific states, seeking their support for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the 2019-2020 term. He told them Germany gave a clear priority to protecting the climate in its candidacy for the seat.
A key vote in June
Israel and Belgium are also applying for the non-permanent Security Council seats as part of the Western European and other states regional group, but Maas does not see it as a competition. "We are not running against anyone," he said. "We are presenting ourselves as candidates for a seat on the Security Council of the UN."
Germany last held a non-permanent seat in 2011-2012. The UN members will vote to decide who gets the seats on June 8.
The five permanent states, which hold vetoes, are the US, Russia, China, the UK and France. Ten other states hold non-permanent seats for two-year periods, as a result of the occasional UN elections.