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Germany

Germany Pleads for Reform, Action at UN

In an address to the UN General Assembly, a top German diplomat said the country would continue its efforts to reform the Security Council, and made a plea for the body to reach its millennium goals.

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Scharioth: 'The Security Council runs the risk of losing its authority.'

German Deputy Foreign Minister Klaus Scharioth addressed the United Nations in New York Tuesday, standing in for Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who was busy with election dealings back home. In a self confident speech, Scharioth expressed Germany's commitment to the organization but said further reform is crucial.

Germany, along with Japan, Brazil and India, is involved in a bid for a seat on a reformed and enlarged UN Security Council.

Scharioth, Germany's number-two diplomat, started off by asking the organization to hold to recent promises, and try to actually meet development goals set at the Millennium Summit in 2000.

Support for Afghanistan

The eight goals, which were set to be reached by 2015, include a 50 percent reduction in poverty and hunger; universal primary education; and reduction of child mortality by two-thirds, among others.

He followed up this plea with a short look back at UN engagement over the last years and months in various regions of the world, calling the diplomatic body a symbol for protection, aid, peace and reconstruction.

G4 Außenminister in New York

G4 ministers from Germany, Japan, India Brazil with UN General Assembly President Jean Ping

Scharioth said Germany would "continue to do its utmost to support Afghanistan," and also spoke about Germany's financial and ideological contributions toward building democracy and constitutionality in Iraq.

"We want all Iraqis to live free of fear and material hardship. Terror and violence should not take the upper hand. The Middle East needs a stable, prosperous Iraq."

Regarding the nuclear program in neighboring Iran, Scharioth complained that earlier progress was being frivolously compromised. Without naming any names, he indirectly criticized the US as being at the heart of the problem.

Call for reform

"If we want to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction -- especially nuclear weapons -- then all countries must fulfill their obligations. At the same time, we have to see to it that new energy comes into nuclear disarmament."

And he called for all member states to take an active part in reforming the United Nations, which includes creating a Peacebuilding Commission and a new Human Rights Council, as well as reforming of the Security Council.

"A reform of the United Nations that does not include the Security Council doesn't deserve the name 'reform'. The council runs the risk of losing its authority and legitimacy if whole continents and important donors are not proportionately represented."

Germany and its partners Brazil, India and Japan are sticking to their concept of a comprehensive reform plan, Scharioth said.

In addition, Germany expressed alarm that commercial and state creditors are providing less and less debt relief for poor developing countries. Scharioth called on the 191 UN member states to support "an extensive cancellation of debts, including multilateral debts" at this weekend's meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

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