Dr. Ingo Karsten, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Cambodia, reflects on the two nations’ relations on this German Unity Day.
Almost three decades ago, we celebrated German reunification and the end of the division of Europe into East and West. To this day, people all over the world are moved when they recall how this separation was overcome. We look back with gratitude at this historic opportunity and at the politicians who laid the foundations for reunification at the time – Willy Brandt and Helmut Kohl, who passed away this year.
Following German reunification and the wave of democracy and the rule of law that reached many countries in the world at the time, we now find ourselves in an era in which opposing interests are coming to the fore once again. Global challenges have increased further in recent years. Geopolitical conflicts, terrorism, migration and refugee flows, poverty, hunger, epidemics and advancing climate change pose great tasks for societies worldwide.
In recent decades, the global community has made significant progress. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a milestone for the international community, serving both as a mandate and a promise. Global challenges, such as climate change with its dramatic consequences including droughts and floods, can only be overcome if we work together and as equal partners. Pacifying regional conflicts and crises is also a global task. Stabilisation and development create opportunities for people’s lives.
No country in the world can solve the international problems facing us on its own. In view of its own history and its experiences in regard to overcoming tyranny and establishing and consolidating a democratic state founded on the rule of law, our country is facing up to these challenges. Germany is willing to shoulder international responsibility. That is why it is applying for a non permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2019/20 term. We live in times of great challenges, and solving them will decide the future of humankind and the planet. At the same time, we live in a world of wide-ranging new opportunities, which we should shape actively. German Unity Day is a good occasion to remind ourselves of this.
Germany has a long-standing and friendly relationship with the Kingdom of Cambodia. This year we celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations. The Kingdom of Cambodia has been an important partner country of our development cooperation in Southeast Asia since 1993.
Germany closely cooperates with Cambodia on the basis of the Cambodian Rectangular Strategy and the Millenium Development Goals of the United Nations. Main focuses of the successful German-Cambodia development cooperation are rural development and food security, the health sector and decentralisation reforms.
The Civil Peace Service with its partners is strengthening reconciliation in Cambodia. Germany has also been supporting Cambodia with scientific knowledge to conserve the temples of Angkor for 20 years now and vocational training on stone conservation. We also continue to assist mine clearance though the Halo Trust organization with major financial contributions.
The German chapter within the EuroCham [European Chamber of Commerce] plays an important role in fostering bilateral trade which still has great potential on both sides. German political foundations and non-governmental organizations supported by Germany play an active role in the institution-building process of Cambodia.
As the German ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia I would like to express my confidence and hope that the long-standing relationship between our two countries remains solid and trusting, for the benefit of both our peoples. Reunited Germany remains committed with its European partners to further support the development of peace, democracy and well-being for the Cambodian people.