German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at UN to lobby for Security Council seat | News | DW | 27.03.2018
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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at UN to lobby for Security Council seat

Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, is in New York to pitch for a seat at the UN Security Council for 2019 and 2020. A UN vote is to be held on June 8.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will try to convince UN member states of Germany's credentials for a seat at the UN Security Council in New York.

Maas is making his inaugural visit to the UN in New York and will be joining discussions on peacekeeping as well as meeting with Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UN ambassadors from several countries on Wednesday to highlight Germany's qualification for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council.

"We want to be involved in tackling the biggest challenges to peace and security," Maas said before departing Berlin, adding he wanted to speak to representatives from other countries to hear "what they expect from us."

On Tuesday night, he met with officials concerned with Caribbean and Pacific island countries particularly affected by climate change.

Read moreHeiko Maas: Who is Germany's new foreign minister?

Germany is the fourth largest contributor to the UN budget and second largest provider of humanitarian and development aid.  The German military is also one of the largest Western contributors to UN peacekeeping missions, including in Mali.

"The United Nations is the cornerstone of the rules-based international order," said Maas. "Preservation and building of this order are central German interests."

The federal Foreign Office now has a state Minister for International Cultural Policy, Michelle Müntefering:

Read moreNew Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pledges Germany will not 'duck away' from global responsibilities

Five seats up for grabs

The 15-seat UN Security Council consists of five veto-wielding permanent members — China, France, Russia, the UK and United States — and 10 non-permanent members. Non-permanent members serve two year terms and are elected by the UN General Assembly.

Germany has been a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council eight times. It last had a seat in 2011-12.

Five non-permanent Security Council seats are at stake in the UN General Assembly election on June 8.

Germany will be competing against Belgium and Israel for one of two open seats in Western Europe group.  One seat each is open for the Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin American groups.

Read moreAre Germany and Israel in broken-promise runoff for a UN Security Council seat?

It is Maas' first trip to the United States as foreign minister and follows visits to France, Poland and Israel since he took over the foreign ministry earlier this month.

He will not meet with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson who is stepping down at the end of the month.

cw/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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