15 January 2013
“Germany and France: Half a century of friendship and cooperation”
Opening remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
“Germany and France, Half a century of friendship and cooperation”
Palais des Nations, Salle des pas perdus, A Building, 3rd Floor
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 at 12:30 p.m.
Monsieur l’Ambassadeur d’Allemagne,
Monsieur l’Ambassadeur de France,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
Je suis très heureux de vous accueillir aujourd’hui au Palais des Nations pour le vernissage de cette exposition de photographies organisée à l’occasion du cinquantième anniversaire du Traité de l’Élysée.
Permettez-moi d’exprimer ma gratitude aux Missions permanentes allemande et française sans qui cette exposition n’aurait pu voir le jour.
In celebrating fifty years of the Élysée Treaty, this exhibition showcases both the history and the spirit of the French-German relationship. The decision of both countries to move forward from war, distrust and rivalry to mutual support and friendship was momentous and one that had greater implications for both Europe and the rest of the world. The contribution of both countries to the cause of peace, stability and cooperation on the continent was recognized by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee last year. As stated by the Committee when awarding the Prize to the European Union, “Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.”
More than just preventing renewed tension between the two countries, the Treaty has been the foundation for an active partnership that has been a driving force in bringing stability and economic growth to the region. The French-German relationship has also been an important part of European integration, giving an impetus to the Single European Act of 1986 and later the European Union.
The successful reconciliation between these two countries is also important in a more global sense, serving as an example for other countries faced with historic and seemingly insurmountable conflict and division.
Lessons can be learned from the commitment showed at the highest level by French and German leaders. Also significant is the broad cooperation displayed in all areas of society, including the economic, academic, cultural and civil society realms, as well as the extensive range of inter-personal networks established between the two countries.
La capacité des peuples français et allemand à remplacer une défiance profondément enracinée par une compréhension et un respect mutuels est une source d’inspiration dans notre travail. Et c’est un grand plaisir
de célébrer avec vous aujourd’hui ce Traité historique
Je vous remercie de votre attention.