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Germany

Germany's Westerwelle pushes for seat on Security Council

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, stressed German credibility and trustworthiness in a bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

UN Security Council

Germany pushed for a seat at the UN's top table

Germany, together with other global players like Japan, India and Brazil, has long harbored a desire for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle drove home that message in an address to the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, his first before the international body.

"You can rely on Germany," Westerwelle said, adding, "Germany is prepared to take on greater responsibility."

Shaking up the UN

Westerwelle advocated a shake-up in the UN Security Council, claiming the UN "no longer reflects the architecture of today's world."

The foreign minister stressed Germany's involvement in a number of global issues.

"Germany is the third largest donor for development cooperation," Westerwelle said. "We've largely overcome the financial and economic crisis, and are on the right course with robust economic growth."

Westerwelle added that Germany was prepared to spearhead measures to counter climate change. He said his country wanted a seat on the UN Security Council in order to work towards "peace and development."

Germany is currently in the running with Portugal and Canada for a rotating, two-year, non-permanent seat on the Council. A decision over new members is to be made in October. Berlin would need the votes of two-thirds of the 192 countries in the UN General Assembly.

Berlin is pushing hard for the seat, but ultimately is seeking a permanent spot on the Security Council, along with the five current veto powers USA, Britain, France, China and Russia.

Westerwelle during a parliamentary debate earlier this year

Westerwelle is an advocate of German leadership

Britain voices support for German ambitions

Westerwelle, on Friday, got support from Britain's deputy premier Nick Clegg, who said London was "clearly and unequivocally" in favor of a permanent seat for Germany on the UN Security Council.

Clegg also advocated that Japan, India, Brazil and a representative from Africa be given permanent seats on the Council.

Meanwhile, a former German foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who presided over German reunification 20 years ago, has called a permanent German seat an outdated notion.

"If we're serious about European unity, then we need a seat for the European Union, while retaining the seats for France and Britain," Genscher said on Saturday in an interview with the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

This, however, is not what Westerwelle and his colleagues from India, Japan and Brazil had in mind when they published a joint declaration in New York on Friday to stake their claims to a permanent Security Council seat.

In their statement they said a reform of the UN body was "urgently needed" to make it "more representative, legitimate and efficient."

Author: Gregg Benzow, David Levitz (dpa/AFP)

Editor: Sonia Phalnikar

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