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Steinmeier, Lavrov address UN

September 27, 2014

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has told the General Assembly the UN must not revert to Cold War standoffs. Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov accused the US of wanting to interfere militarily "anywhere."

New York Rede Steinmeier UN-Vollversammlung 27.09.2014
Image: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Addressing the UN's annual session, Steinmeier said the world had this year "gone off the rails," given its multitude of conflicts. He accused Russia of violating international law through its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in March.

"Not just any state, but a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia, has, with its annexation of Crimea, unilaterally changed the existing borders in Europe and thus broken international law," Steinmeier said, adding that eastern Ukraine now needed a durable ceasefire and a political solution.

"We must not allow the old division between East and West to re-emerge in the United Nations," he said.

Sergei Lavrov 1.9. Moskau
Russia's Lavrov blasted US policyImage: Reuters

Lavrov: US arrogant

Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov said Ukraine had "fallen victim" to what he called Washington's "arrogant policy," asserting that the ouster of Ukraine's previous president Viktor Yanukovych amounted to a US and EU-backed coup.

He did not mention NATO allegations that Russia had armed pro-Russian rebels.

In a veiled reference to ongoing US-led airstrikes against "Islamic State" ("IS") militants inside Syria, Lavrov said the US had again resorted to military interference.

"Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests," Lavrov told the assembly, adding that for the US this had become a "norm" while proclaiming democracy.

Ready for more responsibility

Steinmeier told the assembly that Germany remained ready to take on more responsibility within the UN's membership of 193 nations.

He did not directly mention long-standing bids by Germany, Brazil and India for additional seats on the UN Security Council alongside its current five veto powers - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain.

'Barbarity' against UN principles

Referring to the international campaign against "IS" militants in Syria, Steinmeier called for a broad alliance.

"This barbarity is directed against all of us - against everything for which the United Nations stands," Steinmeier said.

"We are shocked by the monstrous brutality of terrorists, who misuse the name of God for their devil's work," he said, adding it was particularly alarming that hate preachers had recruited young people from Europe.

Steinmeier reiterated that Germany's contribution to an anti-"IS" alliance was the provision of arms and training to Kurdish units in northern Iraq. He again rejected a German participation in the US-led airstrikes against the jihadists.

On Ebola in West Africa, Steinmeier said Germany would play its part within the framework of the UN and the World Health Organization. West Africa needs a long-term boost to its health systems, he added.

ipj/nm (AFP, dpa, AP)