THE new German Ambassador to TT, Ute König, the very first woman ever to hold that post, took up residence here on September 25 with her husband Andreas Pfisterer.
Speaking at the German National Day celebrations on October 3 at the ambassador’s residence in St Clair, she said: “Gender issues are internationally on the rise. Germany intends to raise the number of its female ambassadors; currently we represent only 19 per cent heads of missions.
“After spending four years as German ambassador in Nicaragua, after 56 years of our diplomatic relations and 15 German ambassadors residing in Port of Spain, I am now the first woman to have the honour to represent my country in your twin nation.”
König, who had presented her credentials to President Paula-Mae Weekes the day before, then joked about when German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced earlier this year, that this would be her last term, having been in office for the last 14 years. She said: “Young people who don’t remember anyone else as chancellor discussed in earnest, whether it might be possible that a man could become chancellor – why not?”
On relations between the two nations, König spoke of Germany’s launch of a new initiative earlier this year for Latin America and the Caribbean, culminating in a conference in Berlin in May. Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Senator Dennis Moses represented TT.
One of the concrete results of the conference, König said, was even closer co-operation with the Caribbean on security and climate change at the UN.
She lamented the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas in particular, but commended the solidarity among Caribbean nations, and especially from TT, in answering the call to aid the islands in their time of distress. She said Germany, too, joined in the international relief efforts, with 50 soldiers from her country, as well as 50 from France, who were on board the Dutch vessel Johan de Wit, supplying food and medical supplies to the Bahamas.
On behalf of her husband and herself, she thanked TT for the warm welcome on their arrival and said they are eager to get to know the beautiful TT.
“Today is only my day number eight in Port of Spain. I am therefore still learning a lot about all your unique Trini ways of doing things, but I’ve already managed to attend the festive launch of Carnival in Queen's Park Savannah,” she said.
Moses extended best wishes to the government and people of Germany on their Unity Day, and formally welcomed the new ambassador, wishing her every success during her assignment here.
He said: “Please be assured of the support of the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs as we work towards advancing the bilateral agenda.
“TT stands committed to pursue further opportunities for co-operation with Germany, and together to contribute to overcoming the global challenges that confront us all.”
He added that since diplomatic relations were established between the two countries 57 years ago, relations have developed considerably in areas such as climate change and renewable energy, culture, health and security.
He spoke of his participation at the Berlin conference, where he said timely and pertinent issues were addressed. Turning to König he said the hosting of the forum displayed Germany’s commitment to facilitating opportunities for dialogue on issues of great importance to developing countries and for improving prospects for the achievement of development objectives.
It also demonstrated he said, "the importance it places on partnership. I also acknowledge Germany’s collaborative work with the Caricom region in support of its energy efficiency, adaptation of rural economies, conservation of marine biodiversity and the management of coastal resources to mitigate the negative effects of climate change,” said Moses, adding that Germany’s continued support of the Caribbean aqua-terrestrial solution programme and the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund is noted and appreciated.
He offered best wishes for the continued peace, progress and prosperity of the German people and reaffirmed the commitment of the government to continue the work towards strengthening the bilateral bonds of friendship and co-operation to the mutual benefit of their peoples.
Earlier, the Lydian Singers sang both countries anthems, as well as the EU anthem, which earned them applause.