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40 years of UN membership

An active and committed member of the international community

To mark the 40th anniversary of Germany joining the United Nations, Chancellor Angela Merkel has underscored the "unique importance" of the UN. She pledged that Germany will remain a reliable partner.

Sculpture of a revolver with its barrel tied in a knot outside the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The United Nations stands for peace, security and development Photo: UN Photo

UN-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Germany’s services to the international community.

To mark the anniversary the Chancellor addressed a letter to the United Nations Association of Germany. "The United Nations and its specialised agencies are uniquely important in international cooperation. All the peoples of the world are represented in these bodies," declared Angela Merkel. This gives it a high degree of legitimacy to answer existential questions relating to war and peace and to identify solutions to the problems that will shape our common future.

Hopes of a peaceful future worth living in

"Peace, liberty and development are reflected in the founding Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," the Chancellor continued. "Our hopes of a peaceful future worth living in are based on shared values." In particular the Millennium Development Goals and the way these are aligned to the vision of sustainability entail challenges that can only be met within the framework of the United Nations.

Forty years after it joined the UN, Germany has become a "committed and respected member of the United Nations," said Angela Merkel. "In future too Germany will be a reliable partner of the United Nations and a strong defender of the goals of the UN."

When the United Nations was founded in 1945, Germany was still occupied. In the decades that followed (after the two German states were founded in 1949) the Cold War stood in the way of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic joining the UN.
The rapprochement between the two German states at the start of the 1970s paved the way for their membership. On 18 September 1973 the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic became the 133rd and 134th full members of the United Nations. Since German unification on 3 October 1990 Germany has been represented as one state at the UN.

Ban Ki-moon praises long-standing commitment

Speaking at a ceremony in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Germany’s services to the international community. Throughout its membership Germany has been one of the "most active supporters" of the United Nations. Today it is the third largest contributor to the UN budget.

During the ceremony, the German Ambassador to the United Nations, Peter Wittig, handed over to the Secretary-General the newly renovated quiet room close to the Security Council Chamber. It was a gift from Germany. The room is only open to delegates and is used for meetings during Security Council sessions.

Core part of German foreign policy

Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle declared that when it joined the United Nations in 1973, Germany was officially welcomed back into the fold as a recognised member of the international community. "Our commitment within the United Nations is an integral part of German foreign policy. Worldwide peace, security and development can only be attained through the United Nations," said Guido Westerwelle.

"We believe that the United Nations has and retains a key function in international politics," said the Federal Foreign Minister. That is why it is important for the UN to adapt to today’s world and be willing to embrace reform if it is not to lose authority.

Germany will be celebrating the anniversary on Wednesday with a ceremony that is to be opened by Guido Westerwelle. This will be followed by a conference organised by the United Nations Association of Germany.

Sep 17, 2013