26 September 2011Germany told the United Nations today that it will enhance investment and trade and offer education opportunities for youth in countries in North Africa and the Middle East that are emerging from authoritarian rule, noting that only economic success can ensure that the political reforms will be sustained. “We want to foster the changes through more trade,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the annual general debate of the General Assembly in New York. “We are offering investment, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises, which form the backbone of an open and successful society.“Most important of all, however, will be to offer young people education and training so that they can make the most of their opportunities.”Mr. Westerwelle pledged that Germany will also continue to press for a Security Council resolution against authorities in Syria, which he said had responded to the people’s legitimate demands for political change with brutal force.European Union sanctions against Syria will also be tightened if the crackdown continues. “That is not only about showing solidarity with the Syrian people. It is also about the international community’s credibility.”Noting also that the fight against climate change is an integral element of preventive diplomacy, Mr. Westerwelle said that Germany will continue to be in the vanguard of combating climate change.On Saturday, Mr. Westerwelle met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the margins of the Assembly’s general debate and discussed recent developments in the Middle East peace process, as well as the situation in Libya and Afghanistan.Iceland also underlined the importance of addressing climate change, calling in its address to the General Assembly’s general debate for a “green revolution” and a “seismic shift from fossil fuel to renewable energy.”“In Iceland we have breaking-edge technology that we want to share – on geothermal,” said Össur Skarphéðinsson, Iceland’s Foreign Minister. “That splendid form of renewable energy is the most undervalued and overlooked source of cheap power in the world.“Geothermal is certainly not a silver bullet. But is needs to be part of the portfolio we have to develop to solve the emission problem,” said Mr. Skarphéðinsson, telling the Assembly that his country had the know-how to make regions with geothermal energy potential, such as Central and South America, East Africa and South-East Asia, self-sufficient in green energy.Austria, meanwhile, expressed its support for the Secretary-General’s campaign to achieve universal access to clean and renewable energy.“Austria provides substantial support to the energy and environment efforts undertaken by UNIDO [UN Industrial Development Organization],” said Michael Spindelegger, Austria’s Vice-Chancellor and Minister for European and International Affairs.However, he voiced caution on the use of nuclear energy, saying the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant earlier this year could become a turning point in the global approach to nuclear safety.“We owe it to future generations that safety concerns come first when using nuclear power. Austria decided in 1978 to forego the use of nuclear energy. Some countries have recently adopted a similar course, which we welcome,” said Mr. Spindelegger.He and Mr. Ban exchanged views on Saturday on recent developments in the Middle East peace process, as well as the economic situation in the Eurozone group of countries.