Chancellor Angela Merkel dates Diplomatic Corps in Meseberg
…makes major diplomatic pronouncements
Every year, the most powerful leader in Europe, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) madame Angela Merkel hosts diplomats accredited to the FRG at her country retreat, the Schloss Meseberg where she makes various important pronouncements.
This year Chancellor Merkel made Africa a ‘top agenda’ item, referred to it in top part of her speech, signifying the importance the Chancellor and her country attaches to the continent.
Chancellor Merkel said aid alone cannot continue to sustain, imploring business to to take a significantly ‘close look’ at the fact that Africa with a growing young population will be huge economic player soon.
Chancellor Merkel also told the European Union collectively that they have a ‘duty to work with Africa’ for economic development purposes by supporting the private sector grow and of course not ignoring the pivotal role the small business plays or can play in growing the economy in Africa.
Zambia’s Ambassador H.E Anthony Mukwita was one of the more than a hundred top ranking diplomats that joined Federal Chancellor Merkel at the working fete along with scores of other diplomatic leaders based in Berlin.
This practice of meeting diplomats is one which President Edgar Lungu of Zambia has perfected in recent years, meeting diplomats collectively or separately in blocks such as EU and AU etc. every year.
We bring you the full speech by Chancellor Angela Merkel today as posted on her official chancery page known as Bundezkanzlerin.
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Federal Government, I am delighted to welcome you to Schloss Meseberg. Some of you have been here before. The Federal Foreign Office is represented today by Minister of State Müntefering and State Secretary Lindner. And of course, the Federal Chancellery is also represented – by its Head, Minister of State Hoppenstedt, and by Minister of State Widmann-Mauz. I also see Parliamentary State Secretary Flachsbarth, the Government Spokesperson, State Secretary Seibert, and the Deputy Government Spokespersons, so you will have plenty of interlocutors from various parts of the Government later on. I would like to extend a warm welcome to you and to invite you to enjoy the somewhat more relaxed atmosphere here.
In recent months and particularly in recent weeks, you will sometimes have asked yourselves where Germany and its Government are headed. It is true that we have had some difficult days, but I believe that we have now found a good basis for continuing our work. And after all, that is what people in Germany and many of you, who represent your countries, also expect.
The debate in Germany reflects some of what we are also seeing worldwide. These are turbulent times. Some certainties have been called into question in recent years. This makes it all the more important that we work well together as nations and try to maintain constant contact with one another. That is the precise aim of this reception. Working with, rather than against, one another frequently requires the willingness to compromise. Perhaps it is worth looking at history to see how particularly after the Second World War people were willing to make great compromises because of the dreadful terror they had experienced. We also need to make compromises possible today.
But of course, working together in many ways – multilateralism – is not a form of altruism. Every country needs to assert its interests and work in the international community to ensure that what is specific to its own people and country is heard. But in view of the many challenges, we sense that as a global community we are also a community with a common destiny. That is why we will continue to play our part in global, joint multilateral cooperation and to try to strengthen it in any way we can.
We will be able to do so particularly well over the course of the next two years, as we have been elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2019 and 2020. I would like to thank the many countries that supported us. This provides a broad basis for our work. We want to focus on preventive work and to make crisis prevention and peacekeeping a priority. We will also address points of overlap between security and climate change. We are aware that in Africa in particular, there is a very close connection between the topics of security and safeguarding livelihoods, which are partly at risk as a result of climate change.
Naturally, we conduct our international cooperation in various ways, not only in the UN Security Council, but also in the G20, for example. Argentina will host the next G20 summit. We have promised our support, partly because we are still very familiar with the various topics of our own G20 Presidency last year, including free trade, the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Partnership for Africa.
Europe’s partnership with our neighbouring continent of Africa is of great importance to me personally. That is why I will host another G20 Africa conference in October. Our aim is to continue discussing what we furthered last year, namely the Compacts with Africa. We do not want to simply lose sight of this initiative, but rather to carry on exploring how we can achieve joint results. Africa has a young population, which expects opportunities for its future. I am pleased that the African Union has drawn up its own ideas in its Agenda 2063. And I believe that we Germans, but also Europeans, have a duty to work with Africa on these concepts. For example, this involves access to education and jobs. And let me say frankly that traditional development aid alone is no longer enough. It is needed, but the most important thing is that we look at how we can support private-sector investment, entrepreneurship and small companies so that self-sustaining growth will develop. Agenda 2063 provides a good basis for this.
We are also trying to ensure that peace can be achieved and the fight against terrorism won. That is why Germany, along with France and other countries, has been very active in supporting a G5 Sahel Joint Force for the five Sahel countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger and Chad. We stand shoulder to shoulder with these countries in the difficult fight against terrorism. The United Nations, the European Union and a large number of countries, including Germany and France, as I already mentioned, are involved in this.
Of course, the local security forces do not only need training and equipment. Above all, they need the trust of their own populations. We hope that the forthcoming elections in Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be a success, as both elections are of the utmost importance for peace and development in the two regions. We are also following developments in Ethiopia with great interest. We are aware of how much courage Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is demonstrating. I hope this course will lead to success, also as regards Eritrea. That is something we would very much welcome.
Ladies and gentlemen, as also discussed at the most recent European Council, we remain very concerned about the situation in Libya, where we know that the state can and must be further developed. We hope that elections will be held there this year. We are aware that the large number of migrants in the country is one reason for the great challenges Libya faces. I would thus like to take this opportunity to thank the international organisations, particularly UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration. They are working under the most difficult circumstances to try to make life a bit more bearable for people. However, we know how much we still have to do in this context.
The further use of chemical weapons in Syria has brought home to us once again how difficult the situation is there. France, the US and the UK lived up to their special responsibility as permanent members of the UN Security Council and made clear that the Chemical Weapons Convention must be implemented without exception. I very much welcome that in the future the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will not only be able to investigate whether chemical weapons have been used, but also to identify those responsible. It is simply logical and just that the worst crimes no longer go unpunished.
We are currently watching the Syrian regime’s offensive in southwest Syria with concern. This will certainly not foster de-escalation. Women and children are being forced to flee. We must do everything we can to put a stop to this as soon as possible. Naturally, we must not lose sight of the fact that we need a political process in Syria, as no conflict can be resolved by military means alone. That is why we are discussing this with various parties. To this end, I visited President Putin in Sochi a few weeks ago. We wish UN Special Envoy de Mistura all the best. At European level, we will work with the US and do our utmost to make headway. I call on Iran to live up to its responsibility. And with a view to Turkey, I hope we can overcome this terrible situation despite our different interests. This is a dreadful war that has been going on for many years now. In the meantime, almost half of the Syrian population has been displaced. That is why we all need to do our utmost at the political level.
Ladies and gentlemen, a few days ago I visited Jordan and Lebanon. I saw how much these two countries are doing to give refugees opportunities close to their homeland, how affected they are by the situation and how their own population naturally has rightful expectations. Germany is trying to be a good partner to these countries.
We are also concerned about security in the Middle East as a whole. Along with France and the UK, we have decided to uphold the nuclear agreement with Iran. But we also say very clearly that both Iran’s regional activities against Israel and in Yemen and its ballistic missile programme are grounds for concern. That is why these topics also need to be discussed.
We are pleased that significant progress has been achieved on the Korean Peninsula as regards denuclearisation together with President Trump and the President of South Korea. Of course, what counts now is that North Korea complies with what has been agreed. It is absolutely vital that the Korean Peninsula be denuclearised. If we see progress, then we can also talk about easing sanctions.
Ladies and gentlemen, we will meet at the NATO summit in Brussels next week, where we will discuss the various tasks of our defense alliance. We have made significant efforts in Germany in recent years to increase our defense expenditure. This is a contentious subject in our country. However, we understand that we must take on greater responsibility. We are committed to NATO’s goals and undertakings. They are of the utmost importance for our transatlantic alliance. We are pleased that we will also be able to take on new tasks. Further decisions must be made, including on NATO’´s Command Structure, troops’ readiness levels and a training mission in Iraq.
We want NATO and the European Union to work more closely together. Permanent structured cooperation can lead to real progress in the European Union, also as regards strengthening NATO. We have over 170 arms systems in Europe alone. The US has fewer than 50. You can imagine how inefficient military collaboration is in Europe when every arms system needs its own maintenance, training units and personnel. This means we need to become more efficient. And we must also be willing to invest more in defense.
While I am on the subject of NATO and the European Union, I would also like to speak about Europe’s neighbour Russia. We see the possibility of conducting permanent talks in the NATO-Russia Council. These talks should also be intensified. We hope that we will also be able to further implementation of the Minsk Agreement with Ukraine and Russia. France and Germany have taken on responsibility in this field for many years. It grieves us to see that the ceasefire is still broken every single day. But we won’t give up hope. We know that relations with Russia could be significantly improved, and this is something that Germany in particular aims to achieve.
Our transatlantic relations, particularly as regards the US, should and will be strong. Two days ago, on 4 July, the US celebrated Independence Day. We Germans primarily learned from the US what freedom and independence mean. Allow me to recall that the Berlin Airlift was set up 70 years ago. The Allies brought essential supplies to West Berlin, which was completely cut off at the time. Many older Berliners still have fond memories of the Candy Bombers and of how happy they were as children to see the little parachutes carrying sweets. Solidarity, a community spirit and the fact that former war opponents became supporters, allies, partners and friends were prerequisites for German unity to finally become possible in peace and freedom. As someone who grew up in the former GDR, I am still happy about the new opportunities that this united Germany gives us.
We will not forget any of this and we want it to play a role in our relations with the US today. Economic issues, particularly tariffs, are currently being discussed. I can only hope – and we will try to do our part here – that we do not end up in a downward spiral of trade conflicts, but instead manage to achieve good and mutually beneficial trade relations between the European Union and the US. We benefit from each other’s strengths. That is why we need the transatlantic partnership.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are looking forward to the German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations in the coming days. Outside the European Union, Germany also holds intergovernmental consultations with Israel, which will take place this autumn. We also conduct such talks with India and will continue them in the near future. We want to intensify relations with China in particular on the basis of reciprocity. We have certain wishes in this regard. China is reminding us that it would like to continue investing in Europe in the future. That is also something we need to take seriously. We should discuss this topic very openly.
Ladies and gentlemen, the French President was our guest here a few days ago. We signed the Meseberg Declaration here. You are aware that time and again, German-French or French-German input is important for the further development of the European Union. We know that the others cannot accept everything – that is clear. But if Germany and France do not get along, there is mostly no real progress in Europe.
The Élysée Treaty was signed 55 years ago, thus opening a fundamentally new chapter in our relations. We intend to redraft the Élysée Treaty to meet the conditions of the 21st century. And we will do so by the end of the year.
We will commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War together this year. The French President will hold a remembrance ceremony. After many centuries of conflict and two terrible world wars, it is still virtually a miracle that we can live together peacefully in Europe today. Germany and France were long regarded as sworn enemies. Fortunately, that now belongs to the past. That we can all live together peacefully in the European Union is not only a miracle, but also the reason why we endeavour – sometimes in protracted negotiations that last the whole night – to make the European Union stronger.
To mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014, we in the Federal Republic of Germany decided to adopt a process focused on the future, namely to work with the countries of the Western Balkans that are on the path to EU accession, but still have a long way to go on this path. The next Berlin Process conference will take place in London next week. I am pleased that London will host this conference.
I am still sad that we have to deal with questions concerning the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The UK Prime Minister was here yesterday. Let me say clearly that we want to continue to have good and close – extremely close – relations with the UK even after it leaves the European Union. I think that especially during these negotiations we feel how much unites us.
I am particularly pleased that Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – or North Macedonia, as it will be called in the future – have managed to take a step forward. I wish Macedonian Prime Minister Zaev all the best and I would like to thank all those who were involved in this process. At next week’s NATO summit, we will see if real progress has now been made. I hope this will come to a successful conclusion.
Excellencies, it was not possible for me to mention every country. I hope that those who were not mentioned do not feel disadvantaged. We want to work well with all of you and to so do openly and honestly. If there are conflicts, then we must discuss them, but always with the aim of shaping the future in a spirit of mutual trust because we are all part of the global community and only when all parts work well will the overall result be good.
Thank you very much and have a good time!
Date July 06, 2018
Source: Official website of the Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, reposted by Kellys Kaunda, First Secretary Press-Embassy of Zambia, Berlin. Images, chancellor Merkel shakes hands with Zambia Ambassador Mukwita, Chancellor Merkel shares a light moment with female African Ambassadors at the Schloss Meseberg.