By Matthew Russell Lee for InnerCityPro.com
UNITED NATIONS, January 21 -- Germany is running again for UN Security Council for 2019-20. By the election in 2018, the 2015 Person of the Year award to Chancellor Angela Merkel from TIME Magazine may have faded in memory. Still, its economy is larger than the two other European countries with Permanent seats on the Council; it is about to send 650 peacekeepers to MINUSMA in Mali, on top its current UN peacekeeping contribution of 150 military, 35 police and 60 civilians.
On January 21 Germany's Permanent Representative to the UN Harald Braun held a background briefing on his Mission's 22nd floor. Inner City Press asked three questions and afterward got permission to publish the following responses from Ambassador Braun, on Germany's positions - to which InnerCityPro.com adds some annotations, obviously not attributable in any way to Braun:
On Libya, on which Inner City Press asked whether the recent slew of good-news press statements by the UN Secretary General, the Security Council and many states really mean that the corner has been turned, Ambassador Braun called the situation an“uphill struggle” but said that UN enovy Martin Kobler (who separately told Inner City Press he has a return ticket to the German foreign ministry) has “offered the right instruments.”
InnerCityPro: Sources in Libya say that even before the exposure of Bernardino Leon's job in the UAE, he was losing confidence of some parties and that the time was right for a change: Kobler. While some see an "Article 100" of the UN Charter issue with Kobler saying he has a return ticket to the German foreign ministry, it may in context be a good thing. Given that Achim Steiner was not selected to head UNHCR, what other high UN position might Germany seek? We will cover this.
On Yemen, on which Inner City Press has previously quoted sources in Sana'a on Germany's Bettina Muscheidt as a possible replacement UN envoy, Braun called the situation “complicated,” adding that “we regret the exclusion of the human rights envoy.”
InnerCityPro: The OHCHR representative was "un-PNG-ed" by the Hadi government, but envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's performance continues to be questioned by many. Time for Bettina Muscheidt?
On Burundi, Germany's Ambassador Braun said, “It is important to dialogue, especially with countries that have human rights issues. We believe that in the current situation it is right for the Security Council to put pressure on the government in Burundi.”
InnerCityPro: Whether Burundi's Nkurunziza government wants to dialogue, and with whom, is in question.
Harald Braun in UNSC, eye on 2019-20, UN Photo/Loey Felipe
And on North Korea and its nuclear test, Braun said, “I believe that China was just as surprised as other Council members... It is my expectation that China will agree to a targeted set of sanctions.”
On this last, no draft has yet been circulated even to all Permanent Five members of the Security Council, they say.
InnerCityPro: There are Japanese reports of the US thinking it will get UN sanctions on 30 entities and individuals subject to US sanctions; this seems UNlikely.
Germany, along with a number of other countries, would like to have such a seat. The above are its positions at the UN, on which we'll have more. Watch this site.