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We will not turn our backs on Mali and its neighbours

Current information about Germany’s foreign policy and foreign relations.

12.04.2024
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12.04.2024: Scholz: We will not turn our backs on Mali and its neighbours

Berlin (dpa) - The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to continue Germany’s activities in those West African states in the Sahel that are ruled by the military following coups. Scholz said that in view of the terrorist threat it was important to stabilise Mali and its neighbours even after the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr and the end of the UN mission in Mali. “We cannot and will not turn our backs on this region for this reason,” he said in Berlin during a final speech to honour the Bundeswehr’s deployment in Mali. Mali and its neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger are under military rule following coups and are seeking ever closer relations with Russia. The UN’s 12,000 peacekeepers had to leave Mali at the end of last year. 20,000 members of the Bundeswehr in total were deployed in Mali during the ten-year peacekeeping mission.

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11.04.2024: Lührmann at Three Seas Summit in Vilnius

Berlin (d.de) - Anna Lührmann, Germany’s minister of state for Europe and climate, is travelling to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius to attend the Three Seas Summit. The Three Seas Initiative aims to improve cooperation between member states in the areas of energy, transport and digitisation in the Three Seas region between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black seas. Lührmann will also visit German soldiers of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence battle group in Rukla. “To safeguard Europe we need a resilient energy supply and economy and a resolute fight against disinformation. In this context we can learn a lot from our partners in the Baltic states,” she said prior to her departure.

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10.04.2024: Germany, France and Italy call for strong industrial policy 

Meudon (dpa) – The economics ministers of Germany, France and Italy have called for a stronger European industrial policy to counter the competition from the USA and China. At a tripartite meeting in Meudon near Paris, Robert Habeck, his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire and the Italian minister Adolfo Urso voiced support for more coordination to secure the EU’s strategic autonomy and defend its independence as an economic power. “It is a question of the bloc’s geopolitical ability to act,” Habeck said. 

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09.04.2024: German Chancellor Scholz to visit China 

Berlin (dpa) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will be travelling to China for three days on Saturday, where he will also meet with President Xi Jinping. Besides the capital Beijing, Scholz will visit Chongqing and Shanghai, said government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit. The chancellor will be accompanied by a business delegation. The ministers Cem Özdemir (Agriculture), Volker Wissing (Transport) and Steffi Lemke (Environment) will also be joining him for part of the time. This will be the chancellor’s second trip to China since taking office in Dezember 2021. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the tensions between China and Taiwan and economic matters are likely to be among the main topics of discussion. 

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08.04.2024: Bundeswehr advance party flies to Lithuania

Berlin (dpa) – In sending an advance party to Lithuania, the Bundeswehr is taking another step towards stationing a combat brigade on NATO’s eastern flank. German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius took his leave of around 20 soldiers on Monday who are to prepare the permanent stationing of up to 5,000 German soldiers in Lithuania. In response to the changed security situation in Europe following the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Germany has pledged to relocate a combat-ready fighting battalion that is capable of acting independently to Lithuania by 2027. Lithuania had requested the stationing within the framework of NATO’s collective defence obligations.

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05.04.2024: Germany welcomes HRC decision on human rights situation in Iran

Berlin (d.de) - The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has decided to extend the mandate of the Fact-Finding Mission on the human rights situation in Iran. Germany welcomed the decision: “We will not abandon the courageous people in Iran – we have an ongoing obligation to stand by them rather than leave them to their fate.” The mission had been deployed in November 2022, when the people in Iran, under the slogan Woman, Life, Freedom, had protested for justice and democracy following the death in police custody of Jina Mahsa Amini. A Federal Foreign Office statement on the extension reads: “Even a year and a half after the death of Jina Mahsa Amini and the brutal suppression of the subsequent protests, the human rights situation in Iran remains disastrous. Those in Iran taking to the streets for their freedom and political rights have to fear for their lives, whether it be due to the use of violence on the part of the security forces or executions.”

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4.4.2024: State Secretary Kofler inaugurates solar power plant in Côte d’Ivoire

Berlin (d.de) – The first solar power plant in Côte d’Ivoire has been jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Robert Beugré Mambé, Bärbel Kofler, the state secretary in Germany’s Development Ministry, and the deputy director general for international partnerships of the EU, Myriam Ferran. Located in Boundiali in the north of the country, it will initially supply low-cost and clean electricity to companies and 35,000 households with more than 250,000 people. At the same time, the foundation stone was laid for the plant’s expansion, which is to make it the largest solar power plant in West Africa. Kofler said: “The inauguration sends out a visible sign here to encourage climate protection and development.”

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02.04.2023: State Secretary Kofler visits Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone

Berlin (d.de) – Bärbel Kofler, the parliamentary state secretary in Germany’s Development Ministry, is travelling to the West African coastal countries of Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone. “It is also important for us in Europe that our neighbour West Africa should remain stable. That’s why German development cooperation is supporting Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone,” Kofler said prior to her departure. She said her trip would focus on “new jobs for the huge youth generation and investments in a safe and climate-friendly energy supply. Both will play a key part in effectively combating poverty.” In addition, she said that it was important to “better protect the region’s unique forests and wetlands with their rich biodiversity”. 

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28.03.2024: Scholz and Siliņa emphasise solidarity with Ukraine

Germany and Latvia will continue to support Ukraine. During a visit by Latvian Prime Minister Evika Siliņa, German Chancellor Scholz said that the two countries were for example involved in the Czech ammunition procurement initiative. As far as NATO is concerned, he said: “We stand together.” Siliņa had come to Berlin for her first visit as Latvia’s head of government. According to Scholz, the friendly and trust-based relations between the two countries are the result of a long shared history. He thanked Latvia for the good cooperation and underlined once again the need for unconditional solidarity with the Baltic states, saying that the countries were ready to jointly defend every centimetre of NATO territory.

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27.03.2024: Scholz advocates rapid EU membership for Western Balkan countries

Brdo/Slovenia (dpa) – During a visit to Slovenia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has once again called for the six countries of the Western Balkans to be admitted to the European Union as quickly as possible. Following a meeting with Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob, he also stressed however that when this happened would depend solely on the fulfilment of all criteria. He said that Germany was endeavouring to reduce the tensions between the states of the Western Balkans so as then to be able to concentrate on what really mattered: “Namely progress on the individual regulations necessary to become a member of the European Union.”

Six countries of the Western Balkans are keen to join the EU but are at different stages of the accession process: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Slovenia is one of the Balkan states that has already joined the EU. It was admitted in 2004, 20 years ago.

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26.03.2024: Baerbock “relieved” following UN resolution on ceasefire in Gaza

Jerusalem (dpa) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has welcomed the Security Council’s demand for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. On the sidelines of a visit to Israel, Baerbock said she was “relieved by the adoption of the resolution, because every day counts,” adding that this applied both to those suffering hunger in Gaza and to the hostages that are still being kept prisoner by the Islamist Hamas group. Beforehand, the UN Security Council in New York had for the first time demanded an “immediate ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip nearly six months after the beginning of the war.

After a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, Baerbock expressly praised the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its contribution to the UN Resolution. By unequivocally condemning the Hamas violence against civilians on 7 October in Israel, the PA headed by Abbas had made “an important contribution” to the decision in New York, she explained, and said that she could only join the PA in calling for Hamas to lay down its weapons. 

In the face of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the minister emphatically warned the Israeli government against carrying out its planned ground offensive in Rafah. “There must be no large-scale offensive on Rafah,” Baerbock said. People there “cannot disappear into thin air”. This was the sixth time the foreign minister had visited Israel since the terrorist attack by the Islamist Hamas group on 7 October 2023.

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25.03.2024: Germany condemns Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s power infrastructure

Berlin (d.de) – Germany’s Development Minister Svenja Schulze (photo) has condemned Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure and pledged German help with reconstruction. “Heat and electricity are essential for the people,” said Schulze, adding that Ukraine had already demonstrated it was capable of quickly rebuilding this key infrastructure. “Germany will continue to support Ukraine in this endeavour.” The minister also stressed that the two countries would work together to ensure more effective protection of central substations in future so as to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin’s scheme from being successful.

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22.03.2024: Scholz welcomes EU accession talks with Bosnia-Herzegovina

Brussels (dpa) – Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised the start of negotiations on Bosnia-Herzegovina’s accession to the European Union as a “clear sign of a strong Europe”. “The European peace project is growing,” Scholz wrote on X. The EU has agreed to start accession talks with the Balkan country, but the first accession conference will only be organised when Bosnia-Herzegovina completes required reforms. The EU had offered the country the prospect of accession in principle in 2003. Bosnia-Herzegovina submitted an official application in 2016. It was accepted into the group of accession candidates in 2022.

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21.03.2024: Scholz appeals for EU unity in Ukraine policy

Berlin (dpa) - Ahead of the EU summit in Brussels, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz has appealed for unity in support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia. “We stand together,” he said in a government statement to the Bundestag. He said his message to President Vladimir Putin was, “If the Russian President believes that he only has to sit and wait during this war and that our support will wane, he has miscalculated.” Scholz stressed that Russia cannot speculate on declining Western support for Ukraine.

At the two-day spring meeting in Brussels, the leaders of the 27 EU states will discuss topics including expanding military aid for Ukraine and boosting the European defence industry. They will also focus on the Middle East conflict and potential measures to support farmers in the EU.

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20.03.2024: Germany pledges further military aid for Ukraine

Ramstein (dpa) - Germany acts quickly to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia by sending additional supplies of munitions. Germany would send 10,000 artillery shells from Bundeswehr reserves said Federal Defence Minister Boris Pistorius (photo). He was speaking at a meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group at the US Air Force base in Ramstein in Germany. According to the minister the aid package is worth €500m. This year alone, Germany has already provided aid to Kyiv worth €7 billion. The new package also includes 100 armoured vehicles for infantry and 100 transport vehicles. 

The €500m also includes cash which Germany is giving to a Czech munitions initiative to fund the purchase of 180,000 shells. Germany also plans to contractually regulate 100,000 shells nationally. Those attending the meeting at Ramstein in South-West Germany included US Defence Minister Lloyd Austin and defence minister and military figures from around 50 countries. Austin announced further international support for Ukraine. 

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19.03.2024: Baerbock welcomes EU sanctions on Israeli settlers 

Brussels (dpa) – For the first time the EU plans to impose sanctions on radical Israeli settlers in the West Bank. At a meeting in Brussels the foreign ministers of EU member states agreed the plans, said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell. The background to the plans are violent attacks on Palestinians by extremist settlers, particularly in the aftermath of the Hamas massacre in Israel on 7 October. Along with the building of settlements, the attacks are seen as a barrier to efforts to achieve a long-term peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict. Speaking about the plans, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Germany believed it was essential to state that neither was in line with international law. Further punitive measures against Hamas were also announced.

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18.03.2024: Steinmeier highlights victims of persecution in Russia

Berlin (dpa) - In response to the presidential elections in Russia, Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier recalled the victims of persecution there. “Today I am thinking of the people in Russia who fight for freedom and democracy but live in constant danger under Putin’s regime. We will not forget these brave individuals,” he said on Sunday. The Federal Foreign Office said, “These pseudo-elections in Russia are neither free nor fair. The outcome does not surprise anyone. Prior to this, Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Alexei Navalny, the opponent of Putin who died suddenly in a Russian prison, had voted in the Russian embassy in Berlin. Addressing several hundred demonstrators, she said she had written in her husband’s name on the ballot paper. The elections are being criticised in Western countries as subject to manipulation and neither free nor fair. 

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15.03.2024: Zelenskyy thanks Scholz for Germany’s support for Ukraine.

Kyiv (dpa/d.de) – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked Germany’s Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz for German military aid. In a video message following a phone call with Scholz, Zelenskyy stressed the wide range of support. The President also referred to the reconstruction conference for Ukraine which is planned to take place in Berlin in June. Writing on X, Federal Chancellor Scholz said, “Our support for Ukraine is unwavering.” He went on to say that Germany would continue its support “in close coordination with our international partners.”

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14.03.2024: EU states agree on further support for Ukraine

Brussels (dpa) – The EU states have agreed to continue their joint funding of military equipment for Ukraine. Under the agreement reached in Brussels, the supply of weapons, ammunition and other goods worth at least five billion euros will be guaranteed, according to information from the current Belgian EU Council Presidency and several diplomats. The German EU Ambassador Michael Clauß described the agreement as “good news for Ukraine,” saying that it would make possible the particularly quick and unbureaucratic bilateral supply of military equipment as part of the EU’s support for Ukraine.

In his evening video address meanwhile, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (photo) also focused on the prospect of his country joining the EU; it has been a candidate country for some months now. The goal was to begin the official accession negotiations in the first half of this year, he emphasised.

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13.03.2024: More than 1,000 severely injured Ukrainians treated in Germany

Cologne (dpa) – Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, more than 1,000 severely injured or sick Ukrainians have received medical treatment in Germany. The 1,000th patient was recently brought to Germany, and the figure has now reached 1,022. Besides 692 soldiers, the patients include civilians, some of whom are children, according to the Federal Interior Ministry and the Federal Health Ministry. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser stressed that treating those affected was a human imperative. German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said that Germany was proud to have provided excellent care to so many severely injured Ukrainian soldiers. “That is recognised in Ukraine and will continue.

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”12.03.2024: Minister Paus attends UN Commission on the Status of Women

Berlin (d.de) - Lisa Paus, Germany’s minister for family affairs a.nd women, has travelled to New York to attend the 68th session of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women, where she will be pushing for the economic equality of men and women. “Women all over the world should be able to take advantage of their human right to a self-determined life free from poverty and violence,” Paus declared in New York. She explained that the economic equality of women was particularly important in this context: “This is because economic independence is the basis for freedom, for self-determination and for security,” the minister said. The Commission on the Status of Women is the UN’s central advisory board in the area of equality and its second-largest standing conference. The Commission will be meeting from 11 to 22 March and will focus in particular on combating poverty.

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08.03.2024: Germany condemns Houthi attack on cargo ship

Berlin (d.de) – Germany’s Federal Foreign Office has condemned the Houthi attack on the cargo ship “True Confidence” off the coast of Yemen, which cost three people their lives, “in the strongest possible terms”. “The fact that, after numerous attacks, people have now been killed is a tragic consequence of the Houthis’ completely irresponsible actions,” said a ministry spokeswoman in Berlin. The violent Houthi attacks on civilian commercial vessels were contrary to international law and significantly impeded the safety of international navigation, she went on, explaining that Germany would “continue to help protect the freedom of navigation and the safety of shipping routes” as part of the EU’s Aspides operation.

The Islamist Houthi militia group in Yemen has targeted civilian commercial vessels repeatedly in recent months. By their own account, the Houthis are acting out of solidarity with the Islamist Hamas group in the Gaza Strip. One of the most important shipping routes for global trade passes by Yemen and is used by cargo ships wishing to sail from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal in Egypt. The EU has also launched a military mission to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea, in which Germany is involved with the frigate «Hessen».

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07.03.2024: Germany condemns Israeli construction approval in West Bank

Berlin (dpa) – The Federal Foreign Office has called on the Israeli government to immediately rescind its approval to build around 3,500 new homes in the occupied West Bank. “We unequivocally condemn the construction approval that has been issued for additional housing units in the West Bank,” reads a statement. “Israel’s policy of building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is a grave violation of applicable international law and undermines all endeavours with regard to a two-state solution,” the statement continued, adding that the expansion of settlements poses a threat to peace and security for all people throughout the region. “We condemn all forms of terrorist violence in the strongest possible terms. However, terrorism cannot be used as justification to advance illegal construction activities.”

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06.03.2024: Germany’s Minister of Economic Affairs Robert Habeck visits the USA

Berlin (dpa) - Minister of Economic Affairs and Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck wants to use his multi-day visit to Washington, New York and Chicago to strengthen economic relations between Germany and the US. Meetings with business leaders and politicians will focus on current questions of business, energy and climate policy, particularly in light of current geopolitical crises, the ministry said. One aim of the visit is to accelerate collaboration on issues around future technologies.

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05.03.2024: Baerbock talks about EU enlargement during trip to Western Balkans

Sarajevo (dpa) – In Bosnia and Herzegovina, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is continuing her two-day trip of the Western Balkans. As in Montenegro yesterday, a central role in her talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina Foreign Minister Elmedin Konakovic in the capital Sarajevo will be played by the country’s path of accession to the EU. Baerbock had stated at the start of her trip: “The faster we can become stronger as the European Union in these geopolitical times, the better.” Enlargement is not an end in itself, she said, but serves to strengthen Europe. As in Ukraine, “the European project is also a guarantor of freedom, democracy, rule of law and prosperity here in the Western Balkans,” the foreign minister said.

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04.03.2024: Development Minister Schulze travels to Burkina Faso and Benin

Berlin/Ouagadougou (dpa) – During a trip to the West African countries of Burkina Faso and Benin, Germany’s Development Minister Svenja Schulze (photo) is promoting better cooperation with a view among other things to depriving terrorism of its breeding ground. She warned at the start of her trip against Islamist terror and Russian influence in the region. “The spread of terrorist groups and the growing Russian influence in the region have the potential to increasingly destabilise an entire region in Europe’s proximity,” Schulze explained. “By taking this trip I want to open up dialogue channels, listen and canvass for our positions.” 

The German development minister is the first European minister to visit Burkina Faso since the 2022 military coup led by Captain Ibrahim Traoré. She will then travel on to the neighbouring democratic coastal state of Benin, which is at risk of the violence spreading on its border. Schulze is also travelling in her capacity as president of the Sahel Alliance, which was established by Germany, France and the European Union to support the region’s states. 

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01.03.2024: German government increases humanitarian assistance for Gaza 

Berlin (dpa) – In view of the suffering of the people in the Gaza Strip, the German government is increasing the humanitarian assistance for the sealed-off strip of coast by another 20 million euros. This was announced by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Berlin. She added that that was not nearly enough, however, explaining that the number of lorries that are bringing vital food, medicines and other aid supplies to Gaza had fallen sharply in recent weeks. “That is not acceptable. The Israeli government must immediately ensure safe and unobstructed access for humanitarian assistance,” the minister demanded.

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29.02.2023: Bundeswehr mission off Libyan coast to be extended

Berlin (dpa) – The German government has approved the extension of Germany’s participation in the EU’s EUNAVFOR Med Irini mission in the central Mediterranean by another year. Up to 300 soldiers are involved in the mission, which is aimed at enforcing the arms embargo imposed on Libya by the United Nations. The final decision will be taken by the Bundestag. The Bundeswehr is involved on the one hand in aerial surveillance of the sea, while supporting on the other hand the work of the operational headquarters in Rome. According to the German Defence Ministry, the EU mission has investigated around 13,000 ships since March 2020. 26 vessels have been inspected, three of which were found to be violating the arms embargo. 

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28.02.2024: Germany planning security agreement with countries in South America

Lima/Brasília (dpa/d.de) – Germany intends to intensify its security cooperation with South American countries in the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking. To this end, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (photo) signed declarations of intent with Brazil and Peru during the first stops of her trip to South America. In the Peruvian capital Lima she agreed to begin negotiations on a security agreement. The goal of the two countries is comprehensive police cooperation. “We want to establish a security partnership from Germany to Peru so as to put a stop to criminal and unscrupulous networks,” explained Faeser. Previously, during talks in Brazil, the interior minister had agreed to intensify police cooperation in the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking. Greater deployment of joint investigation groups were at the heart of the agreement, she said. Besides Brazil and Peru, Faeser will also be visiting Ecuador and Colombia during her trip to South America. 

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26.02.2024: Germany boosts aid for reconstruction in Ukraine

Mykolaiv (dpa) - On the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany is boosting humanitarian to help rebuild the country. On a visit to the city of Mykolaiv in the south of Ukraine, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Russia’s President Putin had wanted to “wear the country down, but we’re not going to let him do that, not militarily, not economically and not in humanitarian terms.” For this reason, the German government is ramping up humanitarian aid by around €100m to a total of €1 billion, Baerbock said. She said the money would be used to help people in Ukraine restore water supplies, repair hospitals and rebuild homes. The German government is planning an international reconstruction conference in Berlin in June.

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23.02.2024: Baerbock sees G20 as engine for United Nations reforms

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock sees the G20 group of leading and emerging economic powers as an important engine for reform within international institutions such as the United Nations. “If we wish to overcome the complex challenges of the 21st century, our multilateral institutions cannot remain stuck in the previous century,” Baerbock said at a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. “I believe that the G20 can and must play a crucial role in this reform process.” One of the people Baerbock met with in Rio de Janeiro was US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (photo). 

The minister said that the G20 group reflected “pretty well the geopolitical diversity of today’s world”. She admitted that that sometimes made working in this format a challenge. “However, if we recognise what we have in common, we can be an engine for change, including in forums such as the United Nations.” Besides Germany, France and the USA, G20 members also include Russia and China. The group accounts for roughly 80 percent of global economic power and 60 percent of the world’s population. After the G20 meeting in Brazil, the German foreign minister travelled on to New York, where several United Nations events are planned to mark the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. 

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22.02.2022: Record number of applications for the recognition of foreign qualifications

Berlin (d.de) – The number of applications for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications is continuing to rise, reports the German government. In 2022, there were nearly 49,500 applications for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications – more than ever before. 47 percent of the more than 52,000 applications that were processed in accordance with the Recognition Act in 2022 were recognised as fully equivalent, while 51 percent were found to be partially equivalent, which means that follow-up qualifications or knowledge tests are necessary. Only two percent were not recognised. The Recognition Act regulates the recognition of foreign qualifications for more than 600 professions under federal responsibility. 

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21.02.2023:  Scholz: Will defend every square metre of alliance territory 

Hamburg (dpa) – At the traditional Matthiae-Mahl dinner at Hamburg’s city hall, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has stressed NATO’s cohesion and willingness to defend itself. Addressing Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who like him had been invited to the ceremonial dinner as a guest of honour, he said that Germany stood firmly by the side of the Baltic States. “Your security – the security of Estonia and the Baltic – is also our security,” he said.

The EU has approved new sanctions on Russia to mark the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine. Among other things, representatives of the 27 member states agreed to considerably extend the list of individuals and entities whose assets will have to be frozen. 

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20.02.2024: EU Red Sea naval mission launched with German participation

Brussels/Berlin (dpa) – Germany and other EU states have officially launched their military mission to secure merchant shipping in the Red Sea and neighbouring maritime areas. The foreign ministers of the 27 member states decided to send European warships to the region in order to protect merchant vessels there against attacks by the militant Islamist Houthi group from Yemen. Germany is taking part in the operation with the frigate “Hessen”. Germany’s Defence Minister Boris Pistorius (photo) described the mission as a “very important signal” to the attacking Houthis and the organisations and states behind them. He said that the West, in so doing, showed: “We will protect the international safety and freedom of navigation. The impact of this cannot be underestimated,” he said on German television channel ZDF. 

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19.02.2023: Scholz calls on Israel to comply with international law 

Munich (dpa) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has used unusually clear language to call on Israel to comply with international humanitarian law in view of a planned ground offensive against the Islamist Hamas group in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip. “We obey international law and the rules not only because we subscribed to some agreements globally. It is something which comes out of our perspective of humankind and how we want to be and how we want to see ourselves,” he said at the Munich Security Conference. At the same time, the chancellor reiterated the call for a two-state solution, that is to say an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. 

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15.02.2024: Ongoing commitment to freedom in Belarus

Berlin (d.de) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and the Belarusian civil rights activist and opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (photo) are committed to freedom in Belarus. “As different as our stories are, we are united by a clear conviction – that every human being has the right to be free. That it is not a crime to take to the streets to express one’s opinion. And that every society should be able to choose by whom it is governed,” Baerbock and Tsikhanouskaya wrote in a joint guest essay in the German daily newspaper “Welt”. It is for this freedom that the people in Belarus took to the streets in 2020, the two politicians wrote, adding that they would “not give up the hope of a free, independent Belarus”.

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15.02.2024: Preparations for Ukraine Recovery Conference

Kyiv (d.de) – In Kyiv, representatives of Germany and Ukraine have held talks on the next steps in the international support of Ukraine. The central focus was the Recovery Conference that is scheduled to take place in Berlin in June.  In hosting the conference, the German government was underlining its “reliable, comprehensive and lasting commitment to Ukraine,” explained Thomas Bagger, state secretary at the Federal Foreign Office. Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary at the Development Ministry, stressed the importance of efficiently coordinating the international assistance. 

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14.02.2024: Germany and Poland to cooperate on reconstruction of Ukraine

Berlin (d.de) – The German and Polish governments plan to cooperate more closely in the area of development policy – specifically on the reconstruction of Ukraine. This was agreed by State Secretary for Development Jochen Flasbarth during talks in Warsaw. The joint priorities for the immediate future are to support the reconstruction of Ukraine, as well as strategic development policy objectives such as food security, energy and environmental policy, education and health, according to a German Development Ministry statement. “The German and Polish governments are united by their conviction that the challenges of our time can only be overcome through international cooperation. This includes the reconstruction of Ukraine,” explained State Secretary Flasbarth. At the beginning of this week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had received Poland’s new Prime Minister Donald Tusk (photo) in Berlin.

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13.02.2024: Lindner wants to link Germany better with Great Britain and Ireland

Great Britain and Ireland (d.de) – During his trip to England and Ireland on Monday and Tuesday, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner is keen to promote greater cooperation. Lindner met with his counterpart Jeremy Hunt in London and gave a speech at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He wants to deepen business relations with Great Britain and to campaign for less bureaucracy between the EU and its former member. Lindner will be holding talks with Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe in Dublin to discuss the new debt regulations in Europe.

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12.02.2024: Cooperation with Algeria on production of green hydrogen

Algiers/Berlin (dpa) – Germany and Algeria have set up a hydrogen task force to step up their future cooperation on the production of green hydrogen. To this end, German Economics Minister Robert Habeck signed a declaration of intent for future hydrogen shipments from Algeria to Germany. Habeck explained that the two countries had maintained a close energy partnership since 2015. “We now want to expand this and encourage Algeria to produce more green hydrogen in the future, to invest more in solar and wind energy to this end and thereby to create new added value for itself.” The German government plans to support this with know-how and technical expertise. “Germany and the EU are ready as potential buyers of green hydrogen,” explained Habeck.

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09.02.2024: German frigate sets sail on planned mission to combat Houthi attacks

Wilhelmshaven/Berlin (dpa) - The German frigate “Hessen” has set sail to join a planned EU military mission in the Red Sea intended to protect merchant vessels against attacks by the militant-Islamist Houthi group there. With around 240 soldiers on board, the ship left Germany’s largest naval base in Wilhelmshaven. It is specially designed for escorting vessels and for sea space control. By relocating its warship, the Bundeswehr – the German armed forces – wants to make it possible for Germany to participate in the EU mission to protect merchant shipping. 

The Bundestag has yet to issue a mandate – this is expected to happen during the course of February. In view of the risks posed by the Houthi, large shipping companies are increasingly avoiding the shortest sea route between Asia and Europe through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. The formal decision to launch the EU mission is to be taken at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on 19 February. 

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08.02.2024: German Chancellor Scholz travels to the USA

Berlin/Washington (dpa) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is travelling to the USA for the third time since taking office a good two years ago. He will be meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington. They are likely to discuss the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the Middle East conflict and the NATO summit in July. The alliance is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Ahead of his talks with US President Biden, Scholz will meet with several members of Congress and American businesspeople. The trip will also be overshadowed by the US presidential elections in November, in which Biden plans to run again. The former US President Donald Trump is considered a probable challenger. 

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07.02.2024: Minister Schulze at opening of migration centre in Nigeria

Berlin (d.de) – During her visit to Nigeria, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze has opened a new migration advice centre in Nyanya, together with Minister of State Nkeiruka Onyejeocha from the Nigerian Ministry of Labour. With the support of German development cooperation, the centre will advise people about job opportunities on the German and Nigerian labour markets and the necessary training measures, as well as about the risks of irregular migration. In addition, the centre will support returnees starting new jobs in their home country. The advice centres are independently run by Nigeria, with support provided by the BMZ flagship initiative “Centres for Migration and Development”.

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07.02.2024: Defence Minister Pistorius in Serbia for talks

Berlin (d.de) German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius has visited Serbia, the last stop on his tour of the Balkans. After visiting the EU’s Eufor mission, bilateral talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic were scheduled. Previously, he had held political talks in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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06.02.2024: Defence Minister Pistorius assures Kosovo of support

Pristina (dpa) – Defence Minister Boris Pistorius has assured Kosovo of Germany’s ongoing military support following the tensions with Serbia. At a meeting with President Vjosa Osmani, Pistorius said that the Federal Armed Forces would be sending a unit of 150 additional soldiers in April. At the same time, he called on Serbs and Albanians to seek progress on the way to EU membership through negotiations. Around 90 members of the Federal Armed Forces are currently deployed with KFOR and the NATO Advisory and Liaison Team (NALT). Anna Lührmann, Minister of State at the Foreign Ministry, is also visiting the Western Balkans: she is travelling to Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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06.02.2024: Development Minister Schulze attends ECOWAS talks in Nigeria

Berlin (dpa) – Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) is engaged in direct talks with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following the withdrawal of the coup-controlled states of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger from the alliance. She is visiting ECOWAS Commission President Omar Touray in Nigeria.

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05.02.2024: Human Rights Commissioner Amtsberg travels to the Middle East

Berlin (d.de) – Calling for “substantial humanitarian ceasefires”, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights, Luise Amtsberg, is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israelis and Palestinians had had to endure “immeasurable suffering” for almost four months, said Amtsberg. In the course of her trip, she said, she would also be talking to civil society actors seeking to facilitate peaceful coexistence. It was more important than ever to “strengthen those on the ground who are working for peace”, Amtsberg said, adding that in order to achieve sustainable peace, two sovereign states were required where citizens could live in security and dignity.

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02.02.2024: EU agrees on €50 billion aid package for Ukraine

Brussels (dpa) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the EU special summit in Brussels. Speaking on Thursday in Brussels, he said that the fact that the 27 member states had paved the way for billions in new aid to be provided to Ukraine was a good message for the European Union and a good message for Ukraine. “That was a very successful summit.”

Beforehand, EU leaders had paved the way for new aid after this had been blocked for weeks by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The financial assistance, worth around €50 billion, is intended to ensure that the Ukrainian state will not bankrupt itself despite the enormous costs of defending itself against the Russian war of aggression.

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01.02.2024: Interior minister attends “Women in Law Enforcement” conference

Berlin (d.de) – German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser is taking part in an international conference on “Women in Law Enforcement” initiated by the Lithuanian Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė in Vilnius. Despite many efforts to achieve greater gender equality, the security and law enforcement agencies remain dominated by men. At the conference, Faeser plans to join her European counterparts, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and representatives of Europol and other organisations in a discussion of how to enable more women to reach leadership positions. Promoting and strengthening the careers of women in internal security is very important to Faeser.

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31.01.2024: Germany and Poland intend to cooperate more closely

Berlin/Warsaw (dpa) – Following the change in government in Warsaw, Germany and Poland intend to breathe new life into their cooperation. “A strong Europe, whose centre will continue to move eastwards in the next few years, needs more than ever a vibrant German-Polish friendship and deep trust between Warsaw and Berlin,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said after a meeting with the new Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

Sikorski said: “Relations based on a partnership between democratic Germany and Poland should be restored.” In future, controversial issues should also be addressed “constructively, and above all without confrontational rhetoric,” he added.

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30/01/2024: Corvette Oldenburg returns from UN Mission

Following her deployment to the UN mission off the coast of Lebanon, the corvette Oldenburg has returned to her home port of Warnemünde. The operation lasted 170 days and also included the NATO support mission in the Aegean. UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, has been supporting the Lebanese government since 1978 to promote security on its sea borders and prevent arms smuggling. The mission is one of the longest-running UN peacekeeping missions. The frigate Baden-Württemberg is currently on deployment with UNIFIL.

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30/01/2024: Federal Chancellor Scholz holds talks with Egypt’s President el-Sisi

Berlin (d.de) - Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz has held talks with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas. In a phone call, Scholz and el-Sisi agreed there was an urgent need to improve access for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, supplies to Palestinians and protection for civilians. Scholz reaffirmed that the Federal Government’s would welcome a two-state solution for the region. He thanked el-Sisi for Egypt’s important role as a mediator.

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29.01.2024: In Jordan, Baerbock discusses situation in Middle East conflict

Amman (dpa) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has discussed the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, as well as prospects following the end of the war, with her Jordanian counterpart Aiman al-Safadi. According to the Jordanian news agency Petra, Baerbock said that Israelis and Palestinians could only live together in peace if the security of both sides were “inextricably linked”. The minister had made the stop in Jordan on the way back from a three-day trip to East Africa. Germany is currently providing Jordan with medicines and medical supplies worth 400,000 euros for the needy in the Gaza Strip.

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26/01/2024: Development Minister holds talks in Morocco on skilled worker migration

Rabat (d.de) -Germany’s Development Minister Svenja Schulze is using a visit to Morocco to promote cooperation on skilled worker migration with the North African country. Schulze said that Morocco was a close partner which wanted to give its young and well educated population good career prospects. “Together we want to explore how we can work together more closely to organise advantages for Germany, Morocco and for the migrants themselves,” she said, stressing the central role played by Centres for Migration and Development. Schulze explained that their role continued to include helping people returning from Germany to make a fresh start. “In addition to this, they will also advise potential skilled workers on the occupations in demand in the German labour market, and what the entry requirements are.”

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25/01/2024: Scholz and Zelenskiy plan to sign security agreement “soon”

Berlin (dpa) - Germany and Ukraine are planning to conclude a bilateral security and support agreement “soon”. This was agreed by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a phone call, according to Government Spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit. During the conversation Zelenskiy thanked Germany’s Federal Government for its military support, particularly around strengthening Ukraine’s air defences. Scholz assured Ukraine of Germany’s lasting and unshakeable support in the face of Russia’s continued aggression. Germany will maintain its military and wider support for Ukraine in close consultation with European and international partners.

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24/01/2024 : Baerbock calls for negotiations to end power struggle in Sudan

Berlin/Djibouti (dpa) – Germany’s Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called for increased efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the bloody power struggle in Sudan. Ahead of a visit to East Africa, Baerbock said she planned to speak to partners there to explore ways of getting the two warring generals in Sudan “to the negotiating table at last to stop them pulling people in Sudan deeper into the abyss and further destabilising the region.” Baerbock’s itinerary includes visiting Djibouti, Kenya and South Sudan.

Fighting has been going on in Sudan since April 2023, as the de-facto head of state Abdel Fattah al-Burhan struggles for power against his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the Rapid Support Forces militia. According to UN figures, almost 7.5 million people have become refugees since the conflict began. Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock demanded that “We must increase pressure on both sides, through sanctions, by holding them to account for their crimes against the civilian population, and by using our influence on their supporters abroad.” She also emphasised that countries in the region, the IGAD trade bloc in the region, and the African Union all have a central part to play in the international efforts to bring about negotiations.

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23/01/2024: State visit of Federal President Steinmeier to Vietnam

Hanoi (dpa) - Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has arrived in Vietnam for a two-day state visit. He plans to start the visit by taking part in an event in the capital Hanoi to recruit skilled workers. After this he is expected to meet President Vo Van Tthuong. The topic of skilled workers is an important one for German businesses, which are suffering from a shortage of employees. For this reason, Steinmeier is accompanied by Federal Employment Minister Hubertus Heil and a business delegation. After visiting Vietnam, Steinmeier will fly on to Thailand.

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23/01/2024: Justice Minister Buschmann travels to Estonia and Poland.

Tallinn (d.de) - Justice Minister Marco Buschmann is visiting Estonia and Poland. After discussions in Tallinn he will be the first member of Germany’s Federal Government to meet a member of the new government in Warsaw, where he will congratulate his counterpart Adam Bodnar in person on his appointment. Later Buschmann will lay wreaths at the memorial to the Heroes of the Ghetto Uprising and the memorial to the Warsaw Uprising.

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22.01.2024: Interior minister wants to intensify international fight against drug trafficking

Berlin (dpa) – Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has announced that she will push to intensify the fight against international drug trafficking. “The ports in the Netherlands, Belgium and France are currently affected to an even greater extent by international drug smuggling,” Faeser said in an interview. She said that in Germany it was above all the port of Hamburg that was the focus of drug trafficking. “I therefore want to achieve tougher and internationally coordinated action to combat trade in cocaine and other drugs.” Faeser announced that she would soon be travelling to South America “to get our police forces to work directly together”. “Brazil in particular is a key partner for us in the fight against drug smuggling. I want to also establish this good cooperation with the interior ministries in countries such as Peru and Colombia.”

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19.01.2024: Global Forum for Food and Agriculture wants to facilitate “international exchange of ideas”

Berlin (d.de) – This year, the 16th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) that has now opened in Berlin is all about “Food Systems for Our Future: Joining Forces for a Zero Hunger World”. Around 2,000 international guests from the areas of politics, business, science and civil society are expected to attend the conference, which is hosted by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. “Nearly one person in ten on this planet is suffering from hunger. The international community has made a promise to end global hunger – and we must keep that promise,” explained Parliamentary State Secretary Claudia Müller. She believes that this requires an “international exchange of ideas”. To this end, the GFFA is to build the necessary bridges.

The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture takes place at the same time as the agricultural fair International Green Week, which this year will feature around 1,400 exhibitors from 60 countries. Fair organiser Messe Berlin is expecting more than 300,000 visitors.

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18.01.2023: Habeck backs German investments in Ukraine

Davos (dpa) – German Economics Minister Robert Habeck is supporting investments by German companies in Ukraine. As he explained at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the German government is providing investment guarantees, despite the war, that protect companies in much the same way as insurance. Ahead of a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Habeck stressed that the guarantees were “a tremendously successful step which shows that we believe and trust that Ukraine will successfully survive this difficult situation, but also that German companies will invest in Ukraine”. He said that he was planning in Davos to encourage other states to use this instrument too.

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17.01.2024: Scholz and Biden speak on phone about Ukraine and Middle East

Berlin/Washington (dpa/d.de) – According to their respective governments, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden have spoken on the phone to discuss the ongoing support for Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East. As Scholz wrote afterwards on the short messaging service X, they were in agreement: “We want to continue to provide Ukraine with financial, humanitarian and military support”. He also wrote that Germany will be providing more than seven billion euros in military goods in 2024. For nearly two years, Ukraine has been defending itself against the Russian invasion with the support of the West.

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16.01.2024: Hamburg Sustainability Conference to take place on 7 and 8 October

Berlin (d.de) – The first Hamburg Sustainability Conference will take place on 7 and 8 October 2024. The conference will be entitled “A New Era for Sustainability Alliances - The global meeting for a better world”. Following the UN Summit of the Future scheduled to take place in New York in September, the October dates make the conference ideally suited to bridging the gap between the political sustainability goals at UN level and their practical implementation.

The conference will be held at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, announced the initiators – the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Michael Otto Foundation.

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15.01.2024: Baerbock: urgent talks on EU mission in the Red Sea

Berlin (dpa) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is hoping for a quick agreement on an EU mission to protect merchant ships in the Red Sea. During the inaugural visit of the new French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné to Berlin, she said that negotiations on an EU mandate were being held as a matter of urgency. “And we very much hope to arrive at a conclusion as quickly as possible.” Since the outbreak of the Gaza war, Houthi rebels supported by Iran have repeatedly attacked ships in the Red Sea which are alleged to be linked to Israel. Major shipping companies are increasingly avoiding the route.

Baerbock said the rebel attacks were causing significant disruption to shipping. The Federal Government had clearly conveyed that the maritime operation in the Red Sea was “important and pivotal”, said the Minister, adding that it was vital for the European Union to be involved. The Federal Government was advocating a mandate for a joint operation, said Baerbock.

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12.01.2024: Vice Chancellor Habeck calls for protection of civilians in Gaza

Jerusalem (dpa) – During a visit to Israel, Germany’s Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck has appealed for more to be done to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip. “I call upon the Israeli government to avoid casualties, civilian casualties, in its fight against Hamas, and to guarantee humanitarian aid, medicines, food for the people, especially in such weather,” Habeck said after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Nir Barkat in Jerusalem. He also said that epidemics now threatened to spread in the Gaza Strip, and that winning the war must not lead to the loss of the chance for peace. Habeck said that for him it was about Israel’s security, and stressed the country’s right to defend itself, adding that this included victory over Hamas.

The vice chancellor also spoke out against South Africa’s accusation that Israel is committing genocide in the way it is proceeding in the Gaza war. During a visit to the Israeli town of Sderot, just a few kilometres from the Gaza Strip, he said that he had every empathy with people who were suffering in the Gaza Strip and losing families and children “because of this terrible conflict”. Israel knows that things cannot continue like this, he said in reference to the approach being followed by the armed forces. “But genocide is something different, it is the specific intention to eradicate ethnic groups or religious communities.”

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11.01.2024: Germany wants to strengthen relations with partners in Southeast Asia

Manila (dpa) – During a trip to Southeast Asia, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock intends to strengthen relations with partners there. She is first visiting the Philippine capital Manila. After the Philippines, her trip will include stops in Malaysia and Singapore. Baerbock stressed the region’s economic importance. Despite being more than 10,000 kilometres away, “the economic momentum in Southeast Asia and the strategic significance of this region” can be felt as far as Europe, the foreign minister said.

She emphasised that Germany was not only connected to Southeast Asia through close economic ties. “We are also united by our common stance on the need for clear rules in interactions between states”. In this context, she criticised the fact that these rules in the South China Sea were coming under increasing pressure, for example because “China is adopting an ever more aggressive stance, claiming extensive maritime areas”. Against this background, she urged how important it was “to maintain a clear focus on international law”.

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10.01.2024: Economics Minister sees great potential for hydrogen production in Oman

Muscat (dpa) – Germany’s Economics Minister Robert Habeck has great hopes for the Gulf state of Oman as a future hydrogen producer. “The potential to become a partner here, in terms of the planning process, the installation of solar energy, electrolysis and the purchase of green hydrogen, is huge,” the minister said during a visit to the capital Muscat. Oman wants to push forward the production of hydrogen, which it is hoped will facilitate the energy transition and, among other things, will help store electricity in future. Hydrogen is considered “green”, i.e. climate-friendly, when it is produced using renewable energies.

Oman is “hell-bent on transforming itself. There can be no doubt about that,” Habeck said following talks with Energy Minister Salim al-Aufi and head of state Sultan Haitham bin Tarik. He explained that the country, which has only a fraction of the population of Germany despite covering a similar area, had reserved an area roughly the size of Bavaria for the expansion of renewable energies.

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09.01.2024: Economics Minister Habeck sets off on Middle East trip

Berlin (dpa) – During a trip to several Middle Eastern countries, Germany’s Economics Minister Robert Habeck plans to support the dialogue process in view of the Gaza war. “There must be peace again. The Palestinian population needs a clear prospect of a two-state solution,” Habeck said before departing for Oman. “Israel needs protection and has the right to defend itself. But above all the killing must now stop,” he demanded. After Oman, Habeck also intends to visit Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank.

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08.01.2024: International research expedition on the future of the ocean

Kiel (d.de) – An international research expedition has started in the eastern Mediterranean led by the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel with the aim of obtaining information on future changes in the world’s oceans. The research vessel METEOR set off from Cyprus on a more than four-week voyage through the eastern Mediterranean. According to the Helmholtz Centre, this ocean basin is undergoing rapid change since it is particularly affected by climate change and human activity. Investigations are to be carried out from the seabed to the surface with the aim of obtaining information on what these changes look like and what the consequences will be for the ecosystems of the tropical and subtropical ocean in the future. 28 scientists from twelve countries are taking part in the expedition, including staff from GEOMAR in Kiel, the University of Haifa and the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute, the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute, the Marine Biological Laboratory and the University of Chicago in the US, and Xiamen University in China.

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05.01.2024: New armaments package for Ukraine

Berlin (dpa/d.de) – Germany has delivered a first package of military equipment to Ukraine in 2024. The aid package included ammunition for the medium-range variant of the IRIS-T air defence system and a Skynex short-range air defence system, the Federal Government announced. Ukraine also received ten Marder infantry fighting vehicles, ten heavy trucks, two additional WiSENT mine-clearing armoured vehicles and another Biber armoured vehicle for bridge-laying. The package also included ammunition, protective equipment and winter camouflage. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy thanked Germany and in particular Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “German support is helping to save lives,” he wrote on the social network X, adding that this would make it possible to achieve a just peace for Ukraine and Europe more quickly.

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04.01.2024: Germany and allies warn Houthi

Berlin (d.de) – Germany has joined the governments of the United States, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in condemning the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea as “illegal, unacceptable and deeply destabilising”. The attacks “threaten the lives of innocent people around the world and pose a significant international problem that requires collective action”, the statement continues. The states warn the Yemeni Houthi against carrying out further attacks: “We remain committed to the rules-based international order and are determined to hold malicious actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks.”

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02.01.2024: Germany sets out priorities for its foreign policy in 2024

Berlin (d.de) – At the start of the new year, the Foreign Ministry has set out the priorities of its policy for 2024. In addition to specific issues, Germany is fundamentally committed to shaping a just global order based on the rule of law. Cooperation with partners in Asia, Africa and Latin America is consistently geared towards joint action. German policy is embedded in strong partnerships in the EU, NATO, G7 and G20.

Together with its partners, Germany will continue to vigorously support Ukraine in its fight against the Russian war of aggression. This winter, Russia is once again deliberately bombing civilian infrastructure in order to deprive people of their livelihoods. For this reason, the Federal Government is supporting the country with a winter package and will be doubling military aid to 8 billion euros. Germany is set to host the Ukraine Reconstruction and Recovery Conference in June.

The key to peace in the Middle East lies in a negotiated two-state solution: this is the only way to ensure that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security in the long term. The terrorist attack by Hamas has inflicted untold suffering on Israel. Alongside the fate of the hostages at the hands of Hamas, it is the terrible suffering of the people in Gaza that is now dominating the headlines. For this reason, Germany is actively advocating a humanitarian pause in the fighting, as well as seeking dialogue with its Arab partners. Qatar and Egypt have shown themselves to be indispensable mediators, while Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia likewise have a key role to play.

NATO is a central pillar of German security and defence policy. Finland recently joined the alliance in April 2023, with Sweden due to follow this year. 2024 sees the 75th anniversary of NATO, which is to be celebrated with an “anniversary summit” of heads of state and government in Washington in June.

Meanwhile COP29 in Baku will be a key milestone in the fight against the climate crisis. Implementation of the COP28 resolutions – in particular the first-ever agreement to phase out fossil fuels – will shape the path to COP29 in Azerbaijan in December 2024.

Humanitarian aid remains a central concern of German foreign policy, also in connection with crises that are not in the international spotlight. As an active contributor to the humanitarian system, Germany remains a donor to the UN and to international and national organisations that are committed to humanitarian principles.

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29.12.2023: Germany and other countries condemn uranium enrichment in Iran

Washington (dpa) – Germany , France, the UK and the USA have condemned the recent increase in uranium enrichment in Iran. According to a statement issued by the US State Department, the decision shows that Iran lacks the good will to de-escalate, also noting that such action is irresponsible given the tense situation in the region. “We urge Iran to reverse these steps immediately and de-escalate its nuclear programme,” the statement continues.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) previously stated that, according to its findings, Iran had ramped up the production of highly enriched uranium. Iran denied this. Meanwhile the statement by the four states says that according to IAEA data, Iran has tripled its monthly production, adding that there is no credible civilian justification for such production and that the reported levels of production also harbour considerable risks. For years, Iranian politicians have stated clearly that they do not wish to build nuclear weapons. A nuclear bomb requires uranium enrichment of at least 80 percent.

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27.12.2023: Germany identifies suspected Russian soldiers

Berlin (dpa) – The suspects in the first German investigation into a war crime in Ukraine have been identified. “The suspected shooters and officers responsible have been identified,” said Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann. Initiated in mid-July, the proceedings concern targeted shots fired by members of the Russian armed forces at fleeing civilians, including a person with German citizenship. “If we catch the perpetrators, we will press charges,” said Buschmann. Otherwise Germany would make the evidence available to other states such as Ukraine, said Buschmann. In the case of war crimes and other serious offences, convictions in absentia are not possible under German criminal procedure law.

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22/12/2023: Development Ministry publishes Gender Action Plan

Berlin (d.de) - At the beginning of the year Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulze presented Germany’s feminist development cooperation strategy. By 2025 the aim is for 93% of newly approved project funding to be awarded to projects which contribute to gender equality. Now the ministry has published its Gender Action Plan which is aimed at monitoring progress in the strategy. The strategy aims to strengthen the rights, resources and representation (known as the “3 R’s”) of women and marginalised groups. Development Minister Svenja Schulze said, “For me feminist development policy is a question of justice. Women and girls make up half of the world’s population. They should hold half of the power.”

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21.12.2023: German support for energy supplies in Ukraine

Berlin (d.de) – Germany’s Federal Government is providing a winter package for Ukraine worth just under €90m for an energy support fund. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the Federal Foreign Office are contributing a further €88.5m to the fund. According to the two ministries, Ukraine is expected to use the support fund to purchase energy infrastructure, replacement parts and equipment such as transformers and generators which will help maintain energy supplies in Ukraine.

At the end of last year the Federal Government paid €129.5m into the Energy Support Fund, so this year’s payment brings Germany’s total contribution to €218m. Germany remains by far the biggest donor to the fund, which has collected around €400m since February 2022. The contributions to the Energy Support Fund are part of this year's Federal Government Winter Package of support to Ukraine, worth over €1.6 billion and includes military support for air defences, development policy support and humanitarian aid.

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19.12.2023: German Defence Minister Pistorius visits Niger

Niamey (dpa) – Four and a half months after the military coup in Niger, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius is the first member of the German government to travel to the West African country for talks. Pistorius plans to meet with the Nigerien General Salifou Modi, who became the head of his country’s defence ministry following the coup. Pistorius will also be visiting the more than 100 German soldiers stationed at the Bundeswehr’s air base on the outskirts of Niamey.

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18.12.2023: Bundeswehr flies aid to Egypt for patients from Gaza

Wunstorf (dpa) – Germany’s Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr, flew medical aid supplies to Egypt for patients from Gaza on Saturday. A Luftwaffe (Air Force) Airbus A400M commissioned by the German government transported the aid from Wunstorf Air Base in Lower Saxony to Cairo, where it is needed to treat people from the Gaza Strip. According to the Luftwaffe, 7.6 tons of equipment on a total of nine pallets were on board – above all ventilators and incubators for babies, as well as patient monitors. According to information from the German Press Agency, the aid shipment transported by the Luftwaffe on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office was worth around 1.4 million euros. Further Bundeswehr flights in cooperation with the EU’s humanitarian airlift are to follow.

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15.12.2023: Second German Patriot air defence system in Ukraine

Berlin/Kyiv (dpa) – As promised, Ukraine has received a second Patriot air defence system from Germany before the end of the year. Missiles for the Patriot were also sent with it, the German government announced in its list of military assistance for the country under attack from Russia. According to the updated list, Ukraine also received another nine Bandvagn tracked all-terrain vehicles and 7,390 rounds of 155 mm artillery shells. Germany has also sent three more mobile remote-controlled mine clearing systems and eight tankers. Germany has played an important part in ensuring that Ukraine is now better protected against Russian air strikes involving rockets, cruise missiles and drones. Besides the Patriots, the Iris-T systems and Gepard anti-aircraft guns have proven very effective.

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14.12.2023: German government supports refugees in poorer host countries

Geneva (dpa) – The German government is committed to supporting refugees in poorer host countries. Development Minister Svenja Schulze has called for improved opportunities for work and education, saying at the start of the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva that children must be able to attend school. She explained that the German government has among other things funded education projects that are benefitting 500,000 children from Syria and from the neighbouring countries in which they had sought refuge.

According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, 114 million people around the world are fleeing from conflicts and violence. Three quarters of those displaced beyond the borders of their home country have found refuge in neighbouring countries that for the most part are poorer. Grandi is hosting the Forum in Geneva, which is being attended by around 3,000 government and civil society representatives. The event’s goals are to find lasting solutions for refugees, assistance for host countries, better integration opportunities and ways to successfully combat the root causes of displacement. The Forum is taking place for the second time since 2019.

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13.12.2023: New strategy for development cooperation with Asian partners

Berlin (d.de) – Germany’s Development Ministry (BMZ) is placing its cooperation with the countries of Asia on a new footing. Its strategy lays down five cornerstones for the future alignment of development cooperation with Asian partner countries:

1. feminist development policy,

2. promoting climate-compatible development,

3. good work – strengthening “green jobs”,

4. strengthening social protection systems,

5. preserving biodiversity.

Talking about the new strategy, Development Minister Svenja Schulze said: “No relevant global problem can be resolved without cooperating with the Asian countries. This applies especially to climate change, which is hitting Asian countries with particular force. Our goal is to jointly shape an ecologically sustainable and socially just transition.” Germany has been closely tied to Asia in development cooperation for decades. Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos and Mongolia are bilateral partner countries. The BMZ works with India, Vietnam and Indonesia on solving global issues of future relevance. China and Germany work together on the basis that they are two development cooperation donor countries whose standards and objectives differ greatly in some cases.

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12.12.2023: Germany and EU push for binding COP28 declaration

Berlin (d.de/dpa) At the COP28 climate conference, more than 100 countries in total – including Germany, the EU, the group of island nations and other countries – want the phase-out of coal, oil and gas to be defined as a target in the battle against climate change. For this reason, the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai has been extended on Tuesday, as expected. Originally, the meeting of nearly 200 states and many NGOs was scheduled to end in the morning, but the wrangling over an acceptable final declaration has led to the conference being extended for an initially undefined period.

“The current proposal is disappointing” is how the German foreign ministry described the first draft of the final declaration, commenting that key elements were unacceptable to the European Union. The draft lacked the necessary instruments to implement it in order to achieve the UN’s 1.5 degree target, the statement added.

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11.12.2023: Prize for Human Rights awarded

Berlin (d.de) On Human Rights Day (10 December), the foreign ministers of Germany and France, Annalena Baerbock and Catherine Colonna, announced this year’s twelve winners of the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. The prize-winners are at the helm of non-governmental organisations, work as journalists or, as activists, defend the inalienable rights of every human being. They stand up for those whose voices would otherwise often not be heard: women, refugees, members of the LSBTIQ+ community or detainees. They fight for justice, political participation and unbiased reporting in the media. They come from all parts of the world and often risk their freedom, and frequently even their lives.

Since 2016, France and Germany have taken Human Rights Day as an opportunity to jointly honour individuals worldwide who show outstanding commitment to the cause of human rights.

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08/12/2023: German police officers back at work in UN South Sudan mission

Berlin (d.de) - German federal and state police officers are returning to South Sudan to help make the country more peaceful and secure. Germany’s Federal Government has approved the deployment of these officers with the United Nations UNMISS mission. German police officers were withdrawn from the mission in 2016, but they can once again be deployed to the UN Mission in South Sudan.

In this Germany wants to make a wide-ranging and long-term contribution to ending the conflict and stabilising South Sudan. It also aims to improve humanitarian conditions there. Germany is particularly alert to the need to protect civilians, especially women and children. In addition to the police officers, up to 50 German troops are on deployment with UNMISS in coordinating roles and as military observers.

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07/12/2023: Baerbock arrives to lead German negotiating team at COP28

Berlin (d.de) – Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will take the lead role in Germany’s negotiating team in the final stages of the COP28 climate conference in Dubai. The international community aims to agree concrete steps there by 12 December to combat the climate crisis. Baerbock said she was optimistic: “Unlike all other global climate conferences, COP28 has come out of the starting blocks well,” she said. “Instead of spending ages arguing about the agenda, we worked with others to help set up the fund for climate damage and losses right on day one. That doesn’t just show that tenacious climate diplomacy pays off when you stick at it and forge alliances. Through the fund we’re also extending a helping hand to the countries which have been hit hard, those which can do least about the climate crisis but which are suffering most from its effects.”

Containing the climate crisis is a top priority for the Federal Government. On the very first day of the conference Germany and the United Arab Emirates were the first countries to donate to the Loss and Damage Fund, each paying in $100m. Other countries followed suit and only a few days later there is over €700m in the fund. Baerbock said: “The new alliances which we are forging across continents and living conditions are setting the geopolitical game in motion. If we go about it the right way we will not only boost climate protection but also give confidence back to a world in which multilateralism delivers results.”

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06/12/2023: Human Rights Special Commissioner travels to Middle East

Berlin (d.de) - Germany’s Special Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Luise Amtsberg, is travelling to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. Amtsberg said, “the aim of this trip is to speak to stakeholders from civil society and politics, above all to listen attentively to them and understand their perspectives on the present situation, and their view of what needs to happen for a peaceful future for all. In times such as these what matters is creating and protecting spaces to speak for all involved.” She condemned the “brutal terrorist attacks by Hamas” on Israel and stressed its right to protect its population against terror attacks. At the same time she emphasised that for Israel “fighting Hamas must go hand-in-hand with protecting the civilian population in Gaza.” In all her talks Amtsberg pledged to put a “special focus on access to humanitarian aid in Gaza.”

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05/12/2023: Brazil and Germany to work more closely in future

Berlin (dpa/d.de) - Germany and Brazil plan to work together to push for a swift conclusion to negotiations over a free trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur, the South American trading bloc. “We are making every effort to get the agreement signed off quickly,” said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz after German-Brazilian governmental consultations in which he met the Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The two countries issued a joint statement of intent on “the partnership for a socially just and environmentally friendly transformation.” The talks took place under the motto of “Brazil and Germany: strong partners for progress and sustainability”. Key issues on the agenda included economic cooperation, renewable energy, environmental and climate action, science, and combating hunger and food insecurity.

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05/12/2023: Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock travels to Slovenia

Berlin (dpa) - On a visit to Slovenia Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock learned about the impact of catastrophic flooding during the summer. She visited the Slovenian national logistics centre for civil and disaster protection along with her Slovenian colleague Tanja Fajon. Flooding hit two-thirds of the country in early August, causing massive damage. Before departing for Slovenia, Baerbock said “fighting the climate crisis” was “the greatest security risk for humanity”, and was as such the fulcrum for delivering the German-Slovenian action plan.

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04.12.2023: German government presents IKI strategy up to 2030

Berlin (d.de) – For its International Climate Initiative (IKI), the German government has presented a strategy paper for the period up to 2030. With this funding programme, which was launched in 2008, the German government is supporting developing and emerging countries in ambitiously shaping and implementing climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. A vital part of Germany’s international climate funding, it has been coordinated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) since 2022 and is being implemented in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUV) and the Federal Foreign Office (AA).

The electrification of local public transport in Indonesia, the restoration of mangrove forests in Mexico or the introduction of energy-efficiency standards for climate-friendly refrigeration plants in Southern Africa are just three examples of the diverse range of IKI projects that are advancing climate action and biodiversity conservation worldwide. To date, more than 1,000 projects dedicated to climate and diversity across more than 150 countries globally have been supported with cumulative funding amounting to approximately six billion euros.

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01/12/2023: Germany promotes feminist foreign policy

Berlin (d.de) - Societies are more peaceful, prosperous and stable if everyone can participate equally in political, social and economic life. This is why Germany has committed to supporting efforts to achieve global gender equality by doing all it can through a feminist foreign policy. “Feminist foreign policy isn’t foreign policy for women; it’s for all members of society. It’s inclusive, not exclusive,” says Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock when describing the policy, which aims to boost equal participation around the world. One part of the efforts of German policymakers is the “Voices From Around the Globe” feminist foreign policy networking day which will take place in the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin in early December. It will bring together around 200 participants from about 40 countries from all areas of civil society to share their experiences and ideas.

The guiding principles behind Germany's feminist foreign and development policy were presented by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Development Minister Svenja Schulze in an 80-page document in March 2023. At the time Baerbock it was not about “foreign policy for women, but for all members of society.”

Find out more about German feminist foreign policy.

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30/11/2023: Baerbock stresses importance of OSCE

Skopje (dpa) - Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called for efforts to maintain the operational capacity of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), despite Moscow’s attempts to block progress. Speaking before setting off for the annual meeting of OSCE ministers, Baerbock argued that if the OSCE is to go on protecting the security of 1.3 billion people in its 57 member states, efforts must be made to ensure that “it can remain at least halfway capable of doing its job, even in rough winds.” Baerbock will be joined at the two-day meeting of the 57 OSCE states in the North Macedonian capital Skopje by ministers from around 40 countries.

The Federal Foreign Minister criticised attempts by Russian President Vladimir Putin to separate the security anchor of the OSCE from its foundation. “Despite a fierce headwind, we have been able to preserve the OSCE’s place as a key piece in the puzzle of our security architecture in Europe.” Baerbock noted that taking a pragmatic approach had made it possible to save many projects which would have been cut due to a lack of a regular OSCE budget, “thanks to special contributes from Germany and friends like Japan,” she said. The Federal Foreign Minister added she was very pleased that with Germany's Helga Schmid as General Secretary, there was “such an experienced diplomat and strategist at the head of the OSCE.”

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29/11/2023: Baerbock attends autumn meeting of NATO foreign ministers

Berlin (d.de) The foreign ministers of NATO countries have met in Brussels for a two-day autumn conference. Germany is being represented by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. Speaking ahead of the meeting, she said, “In the last two years we have seen in an extreme way that peace and security must be defended each and every day, even in Europe. That’s why it’s vital that, as the NATO security alliance, we should work together now more than ever to strengthen our protective shield for peace, freedom and security across the whole of Europe.”

The meeting in Brussels will address a range of issues, from preparations for the summit in Washington to mark NATO’s 75th anniversary in 2024, to the situation in the western Balkans. It will also be the first time that the NATO Ukraine Council will meet at a level of foreign ministers, as NATO’s cooperation with Ukraine will be a key issue for the talks. Sweden is on the way to becoming a NATO member and come to Brussels as a guest. Turkey and Hungary have not yet ratified Sweden’s accession. On this point, Baerbock stressed that “It has been said with absolute clarity that Sweden will become a member of our common alliance. This is now long overdue and this step must be taken.”

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27.11.2023: Germany attends Dakar security conference

Berlin (d.de) – Minister of State Katja Keul is representing Germany at the “Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa” in Senegal. The security conference has been hosted annually by the Senegalese government since 2014. It is attended by regional heads of state and government, international foreign and security policymakers and representatives of international organisations, NGOs and the private sector. Before departing, Keul said: “The coastal countries of West Africa face the major challenge of doing something to prevent terror and organised crime from the Sahel region spilling over into their territories. Germany is not leaving these countries and their people alone, but is supporting them in securing their borders and making their societies more resilient to terrorist threats.”

In the Republic of Senegal, the German government is funding projects that strengthen the protection of national borders, as well as an office in Dakar that coordinates needs and border protection projects in West Africa to support national authorities. Under the EU umbrella, Germany is also supporting the coastal states with the training of security personnel.

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24.11.2023: Baerbock: Prevent deep rifts and conflagration in the Middle East

Berlin (dpa) – German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has stressed Israel’s right to defend itself. Israel will never be able to live in safety “if this terror is not combated,” she said at the party conference of the Greens, to which she belongs. Israel is fighting against Hamas, not against Palestinians, she explained. The violence perpetrated against Palestinians by Jewish settlers in the West Bank is not in Israel’s security interests, stressed Baerbock. She also warned against further-reaching consequences of the conflict: “I believe it is our duty to prevent precisely that – a regional conflagration and these international rifts.”

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23/11/2023: Germany steps up humanitarian aid for Gaza

Berlin (d.de) - The humanitarian situation in Gaza is catastrophic. In an effort to reduce the suffering, Germany is boosting humanitarian aid to people in the Palestinian territories by 50 million euros. After the brutal terror attacks by Hamas against the state of Israel and its people on 7 October, the civilian population is of Gaza is also suffering the consequences of Hamas terrorism. Even supplies of essential goods and items have collapsed. In response to the announcement of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock demanded that, “The humanitarian ceasefire must be used to get essential aid to people in Gaza.”

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22/11/2023: Germany commemorates the “Heroes of the Maidan” in Ukraine

Berlin (d.de) – Defence Minister Boris Pistorius visited Maidan Square in Kyiv to commemorate the “Heroes of the Maidan”. In his speech he pledged solidarity and deep unity with Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz described the Maidan as a symbol of freedom, democracy and sovereignty. “The bravery of the Ukrainian people has not been forgotten,” he said. “Ukraine belongs to Europe and we are standing at its side.” Ten years ago pro-European protests began taking place on the square in Kyiv which celebrates Ukrainian independence. The protests marked the beginning of the movement among the Ukrainian people for a free, democratic Ukraine.

At the meeting Pistorius announced that Germany was making available another €1.3 billion to help Ukraine fight the Russian invaders. According to data from the United Nations, over 10,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed in the 21 months since war began, including over 560 children. However, as it has not yet been possible to identify many of the bodies, the UN said that actual death toll could be “significantly higher”.

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21/11/2023: Environment Ministry kicks off Forestguard Project

Berlin (d.de) – As part of efforts to promote deforestation-free supply chains, the German Ministry for the Environment (BMUV) has initiated the Forestguard pilot project as part of its EXI environmental protection export initiative. Through the project the Fraunhofer Institute is working with commercial partners to develop an open-source solution for tracing the coffee supply chain, which can serve as an example for other industries. The solution combines blockchain technology with other technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things and geographic information systems.

Federal Minister of the Environment Steffi Lemke said, “Our demand for agricultural raw materials in Germany and the EU means we make a significant contribution to deforestation around the world. (...) In the Forestguard pilot project, we are combining environmental protection with opportunities to be gained through digitalisation and a solution concept which is not aligned with any particular commercial interests. Instead, it will be made available to businesses as an open source application.” In an effort to combat climate change and the decline in species diversity, the EU passed regulations on deforestation-free agricultural supply chains in June 2023. The regulations aim to ensure that consumption of beef, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, soya and wood does not contribute to deforestation around the world.

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17/11/2023: Scholz stresses need for aid to Ukraine

Teltow (dpa) – Germany’s Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz believes the many donations of money and aid to Ukraine are critical to reconstructing the country. “Next year Germany will hold the reconstruction conference which is organised internationally,” Scholz said, speaking in the town of Teltow in Brandenburg. Speaking about a delivery of aid from the town to its twinned town of Khotyn in Ukraine, he said that the reconstruction conference could only work “if there are many partnerships like the one we see here.”

The Federal Chancellor said he was impressed that the collaboration between Germany and Ukraine was “a great success” on many levels. He added that the partnership between Teltow and Khotyn was not just about material aid, but that it was also “a matter of the heart.” An international reconstruction is planned to take place in Berlin in June 2024. In addition to private investment, the Federal Government has pledged more financial support for reconstruction.

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16/11/2023: Baerbock travels to Dubai for COP28 climate conference

Berlin (d.de) - In late November, the international community will come together in Dubai for the COP28, the 28th world climate conference, to agree on concrete steps to combat the climate crisis. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will lead the German negotiating team in the final phase of the two-week conference, which runs from 30 November to 12 December.

With storms, flooding and droughts, extreme weather events are increasing around the world, making it clear that the climate crisis is destroying people’s homes and livelihoods, putting lives at risk, and exacerbating conflicts. Containing the climate crisis is therefore a top priority for the Federal Government. Its goal for COP28 is to achieve ambitious agreements to advance international climate protection. Numerous bilateral talks will talk place alongside the multilateral negotiations with the aim of accelerating the energy transition around the world and phasing out fossil fuels more rapidly. The Federal Government will therefore work with the European Union to promote a massive expansion of renewable energy around the world.

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15/11/2023: German municipalities lend a hand with reconstruction in Ukraine

Leipzig/Berlin (d.de/dpa) – Ukrainian municipalities will shoulder the burden of rebuilding their country, with support from German villages, towns and cities. This is the message from a three-day German-Ukrainian Municipal Partnerships Conference in Leipzig, which ends today. In a speech to participants, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, “For 630 days people in Ukraine have been suffering due to the Russian war of aggression. Waking up 630 times uncertain if they will become homeless, lose relatives or be forced to become refugees. This war is omnipresent.” Some 600 representatives of German and Ukrainian municipalities attended the conference, along with Development Minister Svenja Schulze, and the mayors of the twinned cities of Leipzig and Kyiv Burkhard Jung and Vitali Klitschko. There are 184 partnerships between German and Ukrainian municipalities, well over twice the number before the Russian invasion in February 2022.

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14.11.2023: Baerbock announces massive expansion of aid to Ukraine

Brussels (dpa) – Germany’s Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has confirmed plans for a significant expansion of support for Ukraine. “While crisis diplomacy may be strongly focused on the Middle East right now, it remains important to face up to the geopolitical challenges on the ground here,” Baerbock said at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels. “We will massively expand our support for next year in particular,” she added,

but she did not name any details about plans for the coming year. According to a press release, military aid will rise from €4 billion to €8 billion in 2024. Regarding speculation about a decline in EU support for Ukraine in the face of the conflict in the Middle East, Baerbock said that President Vladimir Putin’s speech showed that he was getting ahead of himself, given the conflicted and tense global situation. “After all, we’re not just going to continue our support for Ukraine: we're going to expand and increase it,” she said.

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13.11.2023: Negotiations in Nairobi on plastic pollution agreement

Nairobi (dpa/d.de) - The United Nations wants to negotiate a binding global treaty to curb the harm to the environment and human health due to plastic waste. This Monday state representatives are meeting for the fifth round of talks to negotiate a draft treaty in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. The negotiators are discussing the rules which are to apply to plastic manufacturing and recycling. The UN’s goal is for the treaty to be signed in 2025. The UN Environmental Programme believes that a treaty could reduce plastic pollution by 80% by 2040.

Taking a comprehensive approach to fighting plastic waste is a key priority for the German government, which has been working closely on the issue with many countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe for many years. Federal Minister of the Environment Steffi Lemke recently said, “Our oceans are drowning in plastic wastes, and microplastics are putting our health at risk.”

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10.11.2023: Scholz emphasises two percent defence spending target

Berlin (dpa) – During talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that Germany would meet the NATO target of spending two percent of its gross domestic product on defence from next year. At their meeting in the Chancellery in Berlin, the two leaders underlined their joint commitment in difficult times, emphasising the importance of deterrence and the protection of critical infrastructure. Later at the Federal Armed Forces conference in Berlin, the Chancellor said that defence spending amounting to two percent of gross domestic product would now be guaranteed “on a permanent basis”. The global political situation showed just how important this change of course was, said Scholz. He warned: “Our peace is in danger.”

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09.11.2023: Environment Minister Lemke calls for enhanced protection of polar regions

Paris (d.de) – At an international polar summit in Paris, Germany’s Environment Minister Steffi Lemke has called for greater protection of the polar regions. “Our glaciers and poles are unique and hugely important ecosystems. They are coming under increasing pressure: the climate crisis is causing polar ice caps and glaciers to melt, biodiversity is dwindling, and pollution such as plastic waste is causing additional problems for ecosystems,” said Lemke, adding that poles and glaciers were “fundamental to the global climate system and the preservation of biodiversity”. For this reason, she said, she was campaigning at all political levels for effective environmental protection in the polar regions and for the creation of a network of protected areas.

The Minister is representing Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Polar Summit in Paris, which is part of a One Planet Summit series launched by French President Emmanuel Macron at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn in 2017. The focus at this summit is on international cooperation for the ecological protection of polar regions and glaciers.

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08.11.2023: Funds released for Palestine refugee relief organisation

Amman (dpa) – In view of the growing plight of the people in the Gaza Strip, Germany is resuming its development cooperation with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). This was announced by Development Minister Svenja Schulze following talks with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in the Jordanian capital Amman. “Israel’s fight is against Hamas – but the Palestinians are not Hamas,” said Schulze.

Following the attack by the Islamist Palestinian organisation on Israel a month ago, funds for development projects were temporarily blocked. Despite the strict criteria already in place, an in-depth review of all projects was announced. Specifically, the aim was to ensure that no support was being provided for the spread of anti-Semitic ideas or for Hamas supporters.

In view of the growing plight of the people in the Gaza Strip and the increasingly unstable situation in some neighbouring countries, ongoing support for UNRWA was given priority. According to the Ministry, one initial result is that previously planned commitments totalling 71 million euros for UNRWA will now be released and, in view of the increased need, an additional 20 million euros will be made available. The Federal Foreign Office, which is responsible for short-term humanitarian aid, announced on 20 October that Germany would increase its humanitarian aid for the people in the Palestinian territories by 50 million euros.

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07.11.2023: Germany supports Jordan

Berlin (d.de) – During her visit to Jordan, Development Minister Svenja Schulze has promised the government of the country support in caring for refugees and alleviating the water crisis. Developing countries such as Jordan shouldered the largest share of the world’s refugee intake, said Schulze, adding: “Jordan's humanitarian and political commitment is crucial to peace in the Middle East. The country’s role as a mediator is invaluable – and has been for a long time.” Germany would support Jordan with additional funds totalling 41 million euros, said the Minister. She also said that the Federal Government would help improve the water supply in Jordan with loans totalling 125 million euros.

Almost half of Jordan’s population has a refugee background. Those who have fled to the country include some 2.3 million people from the Palestinian territories, 1.3 million from Syria and 75,000 people from Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia.

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06.11.2023: Close cooperation with countries in the Indo-Pacific region

Berlin (d.de) – During a visit to Indonesia, Tobias Lindner, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, emphasised the importance of the Indo-Pacific region for Germany. “The Indo-Pacific is a key region that is becoming increasingly important, both geopolitically and economically,” said Lindner (photo). “In an increasingly multipolar world, it is essential for Germany to deepen cooperation with countries that share our commitment to international law and that, like us, seek to reduce one-sided dependencies.”

In Jakarta, Lindner is attending the annual meeting of the ASEAN-Germany Development Partnership Committee, which focuses on strengthening cooperation between ASEAN and Germany. Together, the ASEAN states are already Germany’s third largest trading partner outside Europe. The Minister of State said he would be talking to representatives from across the region about “how we can work even more closely together to tackle the climate crisis, bring about a global energy transition, make sustainable infrastructure investments and maintain peace and security in the region.”

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03.11.2023: Germany and India intend to advance global energy transition

New Delhi (d.de) – Germany and India are deepening their partnership in the interests of a global energy transition. Over the coming years, cooperation is to be stepped up on the expansion of renewable energies, sustainable urban development, public mobility, sustainable agriculture and the preservation of natural livelihoods, with German investments to total over a billion euros. The state secretary in Germany’s Development Ministry, Jochen Flasbarth, agreed with the Indian government on concrete cooperative projects under the umbrella of the “Green and Sustainable Development Partnership” that was established in 2022. During the talks, both countries reiterated the target of tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030.

“India has a key role to play if we want to make progress with global climate protection and sustainable development worldwide,” explained Flasbarth. “India’s economy and cities are growing, and the demand for energy, mobility, drinking water, sanitary facilities and food is increasing. It is of global importance that India should be able to meet this demand sustainably and use renewable energies and climate-friendly ways of meeting basic needs such as water, mobility and food.” This is why cooperation with India in the “Green and Sustainable Development Partnership” is so important, he said.

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02.11.2023: European conference at Federal Foreign Office in Berlin

Foreign ministers of the EU member states and ten accession candidates are coming to Berlin to attend a European conference at which the enlargement of the European Union and reforms of the EU will be discussed. Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock invited her counterparts to the meeting at the Federal Foreign Office, the motto being “A larger, stronger Union – making the European Union fit for enlargement and future members fit for accession”.

The Federal Foreign Office pointed to the major geopolitical challenges facing the EU, explaining that the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine had given rise to a new geopolitical situation that Europe had responded to with almost unprecedented unity. Consequently, Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova had been given the prospect of joining the EU and had been included in the group of six Western Balkan countries and Turkey. At the same time, the “brutal terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas since 7 October have made it clear once again that the EU must present a united front as an international actor and must remain capable of action”.

01.11.2023: Germany and Tanzania intend to address colonial history

Dar es Salaam (dpa) – Germany and Tanzania intend to further build upon their relations and in this context also to address their shared colonial history. “It is important to me that we come to terms with this dark chapter, that we come to terms with it together,” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said during a visit to Tanzania. He also said that Germany was willing to repatriate cultural property and human remains. After meeting with the German president, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said: “We are ready to start official negotiations to see how we can deal with the colonial legacy in our country.”

Until the end of the First World War, Tanzania was part of the German East Africa colony. Colonial rule was characterised by oppression, exploitation and atrocities. During the so-called Maji Maji Rebellion, as many as 300,000 people were killed between 1905 and 1907, according to Tanzanian estimates. In Tanzania, Steinmeier also met with families whose ancestors had died in the war.

The Tanzanian president stressed that both countries had worked well together for 60 years and that the German government was a “reliable friend and partner”. According to Steinmeier, it is now a question of strengthening and “future-proofing” these good relations.

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31.10.2023: Germany and Morocco agree on security cooperation

Rabat (dpa) – Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has been campaigning in Morocco for more cooperation on security affairs and on migration and deportations. Together with her Moroccan counterpart, Abdelouafi Laftit, she has signed a declaration of intent to this effect in the capital Rabat. Faeser is being accompanied on her two-day trip to Morocco by Joachim Stamp, the special commissioner for migration agreements. In the German government’s view, such agreements are intended to facilitate the granting of work visas and other forms of regular migration. In return, the countries of origin are supposed to help with deportation.

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31.10.2023: Scholz wants to expand migration centres in Nigeria

Lagos (dpa) – In Nigeria, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has voiced support for the expansion of the migration centres that were set up to support returnees from Germany and other countries. In future, the centres are also to provide advice for skilled professionals wishing to emigrate to Germany. “This requires considerable preparation and investment – on both sides,” the chancellor said. He also talked with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu.

At present there are three migration centres in Nigeria that have supported 20,000 returnees over the past four years, helping them to find jobs and training places. 4,000 of them had returned from Germany

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30.10.2023: Federal President visits Tanzania and Zambia on Africa trip

Berlin (dpa) – Germany’s Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has set off on a four-day trip to southern Africa. He will first visit Tanzania and then Zambia, with the aim of expanding existing partnerships and establishing new ones. Possibilities for closer economic cooperation are also to be explored. Steinmeier will be accompanied by a business delegation. In Tanzania, Steinmeier will also talk to descendants of victims of the Maji Maji War. With up to 300,000 dead, it was one of the bloodiest colonial wars ever. It was fought from 1905 to 1907, triggered by a rebellion of the population against the oppression of German colonial rule.

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27.10.2023: Scholz to visit Nigeria and Ghana

Berlin (d.de) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will be travelling to the African countries of Nigeria and Ghana. During his visit from Sunday to Tuesday, he will hold talks with the Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and the Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, among others. According to the German government, discussions will focus on bilateral relations, as well as regional security, economic development and cooperation in the areas of business and global affairs. Federal Chancellor Scholz will be accompanied during his visit by a business and cultural delegation. It is Scholz’s third major trip to Africa as chancellor – most recently, he had visited Ethiopia and Kenya in May 2023.

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26.10.2023: German Minister for Economic Affairs Habeck in Turkey

Ankara (dpa) -German Economics Minister Robert Habeck has travelled to Turkey for talks. The economic relations between Germany and Turkey and cooperation on climate protection and energy will be the central focus of his two-day visit. Habeck, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor, is accompanied by a business delegation. Ahead of the trip, Habeck stressed the strong economic relations with Turkey and pointed to the family ties that many people in Germany have. He also highlighted Turkey’s role as an “important geostrategic actor”. “My trip is taking place in difficult geopolitical times with the threat of a conflagration in the Middle East as a result of the Hamas terror,” the minister explained. “That is precisely why it is important to remain in dialogue, to use all channels of communication with influential powers in the region, and also to address difficult topics.”

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25.10.2023: Baerbock stresses Israel’s right to defend itself

New York (dpa) – In a speech to the United Nations Security Council, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has highlighted Israel’s right to defend itself, while simultaneously calling for compliance with international humanitarian law. She stressed that Israel, like any other state in the world, has the right to defend itself against terrorism within the framework of international law. At a high-level meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, she underlined at the same time: “The fight is against Hamas and not against civilians. That’s why it is crucial for us that this fight is carried out in line with humanitarian law, with the greatest possible consideration for civilians in Gaza.” All civilian lives matter in equal measure, she explained, adding that help must be provided in “humanitarian windows” during breaks in the fighting to those in the Gaza Strip who are not involved.

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24.10.2023: Baerbock attends Middle East debate in UN Security Council

Berlin (dpa/d.de) – Ahead of a Middle East debate in the UN Security Council in New York, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has stressed the goal of avoiding a conflagration in the region and ensuring rapid humanitarian assistance for the people in Gaza. “The world is striving to prevent a conflagration in the Middle East,” Baerbock stated. In addition, people are committed to looking beyond the present moment and finding a way to think of “a Gaza after Hamas”. “We in Europe believe that peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved through a negotiated two-state solution,” she said. Referring to the situation in the Gaza Strip, Baerbock emphasised the urgent need to ensure that the United Nations is able to provide people with humanitarian assistance.

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23.10.2023: Another 200 million euros for reconstruction in Ukraine

Kyiv (dpa) – Germany is providing another 200 million euros for reconstruction in Ukraine. German State Secretary for Development Jochen Flasbarth pledged the aid during a visit to the capital Kyiv and to the port city of Mykolaiv in the south of the country. The money is to be spent on education, healthcare, the supply of drinking water and urban reconstruction. The funds are to be channelled into various programmes before the end of this year. By its own account, Germany’s Development Ministry has thus made around one billion euros available to support the civilian population in Ukraine since the Russian war of aggression began in February 2022.

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20.10.2023: German Defence Minister Pistorius visits Israel

Tel Aviv (dpa) – German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius has promised his Israeli counterpart Joav Galant Germany’s support in the fight against the Islamist Hamas group. The most urgent task is to achieve the release of the kidnapped hostages, Pistorius said in Tel Aviv during a meeting with Galant. The minister added that Germany was also willing to support the Israeli armed forces with material, saying that the German government and Germany were standing by Israel. “This has nothing to do with a war that Hamas has started here. This is a terrorist attack,” said Pistorius. “This inhuman brutality has shaken us to the core in Germany.”

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19.10.2023: Baerbock to attend crisis talks in Jordan, Israel and Lebanon

Berlin (dpa)- Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has set off for Jordan, Israel and Lebanon to attend a new round of crisis talks in view of the Gaza war. Before departing for Jordan, she assured Israel of the German government’s “unwavering solidarity”. “The fight is against Hamas, not against the Palestinian civilian population,” the minister explained, adding that the latter is also suffering tremendously. To coordinate the support for the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, which has been sealed off by Israel, Baerbock has appointed a special envoy for humanitarian assistance in the Middle East. She said that Germany was standing ready to provide comprehensive aid.

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18.10.2023: Continued support for Ukraine and Moldova

Chisinau (dpa) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has promised Ukraine and its small neighbouring Republic of Moldova continuing support against Russia in the face of the Middle East crisis in Israel. “In these days when the situation in the Middle East is keeping us so on edge, it is important for me to underline: We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and with Moldova,” the minister said at the fourth Moldova Support Conference. She explained that Germany would support Moldova in energy issues, economic stabilisation and reform steps towards EU accession, providing 95 million euros to this end next year. Moldova, like Ukraine, had received EU candidate country status in June 2022.

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17.10.2023: Scholz calls for closer cooperation between Western Balkan countries

Tirana (dpa) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called on the countries of the Western Balkan to cooperate more closely. “There is no alternative to regional cohesion and the lasting resolution of conflicts that have already been simmering far too long,” Scholz said on Monday at the end of a summit meeting in the Albanian capital Tirana at which the accession of six Western Balkan countries to the European Union was discussed. The summit, which was also attended by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, was held within the framework of the so-called Berlin Process that the German government initiated in 2014.

Scholz also announced a regional climate partnership between Germany and the Western Balkans, saying that Germany would provide 1.5 billion euros by 2030 to support the fight against climate change and the use of renewable energies in the region. In addition, the German government will be making 73 million euros available for a new renewable energy programme in Albania.

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, as the host’s summit, described the proposals of the EU Commission as “something entirely new”. “They show that the EU is opening itself up to non-members from the Western Balkans by agreeing to steps that lead to something that is otherwise limited only to members.”

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