Reform UN to reflect change of time, situation

Bangalore: Global financial crisis, reform of United Nations, terrorism threats and other issues of mutual interest were today discussed in a meeting between External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle. In a joint press conference with Westerwelle, Krishna said they had extensive discussions on issues pertaining to bilateral relations, G-20 process, global financial crisis, reform of global institutions including UNSC and global threat of terrorism.

The German foreign minister said his country shares India`s view that architecture of the UN should be changed. "The time has changed; situation has changed…the architecture of the UN and also permanent membership of the Security Council should represent the (present) situation in the world," he said.

On Afghanistan, Westerwelle said Germany would not stop at the end of 2014, when it will withdraw international combat troops from the nation but "in the interest of long-term stability in Afghanistan and in the region, we will continue to support Afghanistan with civil assistance and by training".

In this context, he said Germany appreciated very much that India would soon host a private sector conference to attract more private sector investment in Afghanistan. "We share this philosophy; we share this policy because we know that security and development are two sides of the same coin," he said. Westerwelle said developments in Syria is a matter of concern.

"We agree that it`s necessary to support the efforts of Kofi Annan to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria," he said. On Iran, Westerwelle said, "We agree that Iran has the right to use nuclear energy for civil reasons" but it also has to fulfill its international obligations concerning transparency and nature of its nuclear programme.

On the European debt crisis, Westerwelle said, "We have to work hard for the future of Europe and for the stability of the European currency…I am optimistic…we will manage the debt crisis. It`s not a Euro crisis. It`s a debt crisis which morphed into a crisis of confidence."

The Euro as a currency and European economy is stable and successful, Westerwelle said, adding, that the German economy is doing excellent. Noting that Germany is India`s most important trade partner in European Union and 150 German companies are active in Bangalore, he said his country is keen to further deepen business ties with India.

"An important step would be quick conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and India. We will continue to work on this," he said. Krishna said bilateral trade between India and Germany crossed 18 billion Euros in 2011 and going by the trend he is optimistic that it would reach 20 billion Euros in the current calendar year.