France and Germany will fight to preserve multilateralism
Success requires all UN Security Council members — notably the US — to work together.
Multilateralism is under threat. The consequences could be dire. But as countries increasingly place their own narrowly defined self-interest above the common good, France and Germany are ever more determined to stand together to defend a rules-based global order.
Today’s complex international challenges require a multilateral response based on a shared understanding and common values. We understand this better than most: if European history teaches us anything, it is about the dangers of unbridled nationalism.
In the terrible aftermath of two world wars, French president Charles de Gaulle and German chancellor Konrad Adenauer, alongside the leaders of other future EU member states, put the continent’s divisions behind them. This decision arose not just from a sense of realpolitik but also from shared convictions of solidarity, co-operation and law.
Today, the organising principles of our international relations are centred on adherence to universal human rights and the rule of law — two areas where the UN has a key role to play.
Following Germany’s election to the UN Security Council for a two-year term starting in 2019, our two countries will now be better placed to work together to pursue its core mission: maintaining international peace and security.
As French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel have expressed, we value the UN’s work deeply. That is why we fully support secretary-general António Guterres’s reforms aimed at creating a more agile, efficient and accountable organisation. A stronger UN will help us to be more active and effective in our multilateral diplomacy.
We will work tirelessly to find UN-led political solutions to conflicts in Syria, Libya and elsewhere. This includes defending the nuclear non-proliferation regime, an essential pillar of our collective security, which the security council is charged with protecting.
We will continue to support the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, one of the most important diplomatic achievements of the past decade, and one that we hope will prevent Iran from developing a military nuclear program. We will challenge those who use chemical weapons by backing the prohibition of such horrendous tactics.
We will fight terrorism within a strengthened multilateral framework, targeting international terrorists, their sources of financing, and their use of the internet to recruit and spread hate.
We find it unacceptable that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of UN member states, such as Ukraine, continues to be violated, in contradiction of the UN charter. We will fight for human rights and protect civilians, prioritising the rights of women, children, journalists, lawyers and humanitarian workers.
France and Germany are also committed to upholding the institutions and application of international law. We will support the International Court of Justice, international and mixed tribunals, mechanisms, and courts of arbitration, in particular the International Criminal Court. Its decisions must be respected and enforced.
Perpetrators of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity must face justice. Binding security council resolutions, such as those rejecting unilateral decisions on Jerusalem, should not be ignored.
We also agree that the deterioration of the environment represents a growing threat to global security that must be tackled collectively. We will continue to promote the Paris climate agreement— our last best chance to slow global warming — and a further worldwide pact for the environment offering a robust and coherent framework.
France and Germany will also strive to integrate security and development strategies. Our work in the Sahel region in Africa, where we are leading efforts to support the G5 Sahel force of local countries and boost development through the Sahel Alliance, is a good illustration of this comprehensive approach.
But success there and in so many other areas requires all security council members — notably the US — to work with each other. As the world is confronted with unprecedented global challenges, American commitment to our shared values and common solutions has rarely been more critical.
The writer is France’s ambassador to the UN. Christoph Heusgen, Germany’s UN ambassador, also contributed.
To read this opinion on the Financial Times: https://on.ft.com/2nxhxSt