There were a lot of deals that federal minister heiko maas and UN ambassador christoph heusgen had to shake: in 2019 and 2020, germany will again sit on the united nations security council as a non-permanent member.
Germany’s election was considered very certain, but the result of the vote in the UN general assembly was celebrated nonetheless. "We are in!", the german embassy tweeted, thanking the world community for its trust.
After minutes of handshakes, kisses and hugs for the german delegation in the UN plenary hall, maas spoke of a "dream result". 184 of 190 votes cast came together for the federal government, with two abstentions and four against.
The UN currently has a total of 193 member states. Two of them did not vote on friday, libya is currently not allowed to participate in votes due to contribution pressure.
Maas announced that germany would be a "perceptible, secure voice in the security council". "We do not want to duck away, but we will show our colors even in difficult decisions," maas declared. The goal is "to prevent crises from occurring in the first place."
The other four vacant seats were filled by belgium, south africa, the dominican republic, and indonesia, which, with the exception of indonesia, ran unopposed. Germany also entered the race alone after israel unexpectedly withdrew its candidacy for the vacant seat in early may. Some members of the sudafrican delegation hung scarves with their national colors around their shoulders, and the mood in the hall was somewhat reminiscent of the cheerful patriotism at a soccer world championship.
From 1. January 2019 UN ambassador heusgen sits at round table in most powerful UN body. Like the other 14 members, he then attends council meetings, votes on resolutions and can make his own contributions and motions. Germany does not have the right of veto, unlike the other so-called P5 states – the USA, great britain, france, russia and china. The federal republic of germany has already been on the UN security council five times (most recently in 2011/2012), the GDR once.
Germany was allowed to seek solidarity with its european allies france and great britain in particular. The german representation on friday stressed its "close partnership" with france after france’s u.N. Ambassador francois delattre congratulated his german counterparts.
Important topics in the council are the war in syria, which has been going on for seven years, and the conflicts in libya and yemen. The debate is particularly deadlocked over the future of syria and the ongoing conflict between israelis and palastinians. The conflict with north korea has receded somewhat into the background following the latter’s rapprochement with the u.S.
The ukraine conflict could also come back into focus with german council membership. The minsk peace treaty was negotiated in 2015 under german mediation, but the repeatedly declared ceasefire in eastern ukraine has not been implemented, nor has the withdrawal of heavy war equipment. On wednesday, the security council called for an immediate withdrawal of heavy weapons from the region.
Germany is the largest contributor to the regular UN budget and to global peace operations after the USA, japan and china. The bundeswehr currently has around 1,200 soldiers deployed worldwide, primarily in mali (around 1,000 soldiers) and in lebanon (around 120 soldiers). Although germany is one of the largest contributors to the UN budget, according to UN statistics it is only in 28th place. The list is topped by poor developing countries such as athiopia (8400 soldiers) as well as bangladesh, india and rwanda (6500 to 7000 soldiers each).
The five seats for 2019 and 2020 will be vacant because sweden and the netherlands, as well as athiopia, bolivia and kazakhstan, are leaving at the end of the year.