German Foreign Minister begins North American tour with UN meeting

By Michael Fischer, dpa

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas lamented the UN Security Council’s inability to take action in finding solutions to armed conflict during his visit to New York on Tuesday.

“At the moment, we have a situation in which members are blocking each other with regard to serious crises,” Maas said during a meeting of the UN Security Council on protecting civilians caught up in armed conflict.

“The Security Council needs to become the leading body in international politics on questions on Libya and Yemen but also on other questions, like Syria,” he said.

Maas went on to say that everyone needed to play its part “so that the international community does not watch as the number of wars around the world increases.”

Germany began its two-year tenure as a temporary member of the UN Security Council in January.

Council members with vetoing power have repeatedly blocked each other from taking action on international conflicts, with Russia often standing against the Western powers of France, Britain and the US.

The fifth member of the body, founded in order to solve conflict, is China.

After attending the meeting in New York Maas will fly to Toronto, where he will meet Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland to work on his project “Alliance for Multilateralism.” The project strives to boost international cooperation.

The final stop on Maas’ tour will be the Canadian Arctic town Pond Inlet, where he will meet members of the Inuit community to discuss the effects of climate change.

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