His 13-minute speech argued that Germany on the Security Council would be a strong partner for smaller countries and would work for peace, climate protection, education and development.
“Our guiding principle, also for the work conducted here in the United Nations, is cooperation on an equal level, it is the cooperation between equals,” he said.
This statement referred to the equality in terms of votes wielded by UN members on which countries will next take up the rotating non-permanent seats on the powerful Security Council.
The German government already helps “those who are suffering the most from climate change,” said Westerwelle.
“The fate of, above all, the small island states is in our hearts,” he said, having held bilateral talks with a number of smaller states including the Marshall Islands – a tiny group of islands in the Pacific – during his five-day visit to New York.
Such tiny countries are often offered economic incentives such as the construction of ports or even government buildings by larger countries in return for their votes in such international forums.
Westerwelle also portrayed Germany as a big player on the world stage.
“Germany is ready to take on global responsibilities within the framework set by the United Nations,” he said.
Two Security Council seats are set to be filled in a secret UN vote on October 12 – the candidates, among them Canada and Portugal – must get a two-thirds majority vote.
The UN General Assembly gives an opportunity for all 192 members to speak – this was the first time Westerwelle had made such an address.
He had made his speech in German, but finished in English, saying, “You can count on Germany. You can rely on Germany.”