Message from the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr Gerhard Fulda
On the third of October, Germany celebrates the Day of German Unity. Twelve years ago the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany were united. We still face a lot of problems in order to overcome the huge differences between the two former states which had been at the forefront of the Western and Eastern blocks.
Big efforts were undertaken to build up the five new states which had joined the Federal Republic. Let me quote from the message the Federal President Johannes Rau delivered this year on the occasion of the Day of German Unity:
"This year, too the Day of German Unity is a day of joy, a day of gratitude and a day of confidence. We are delighted that our country is no longer torn in two by an inhuman border. We are grateful that so many friendly nations helped us on the road to unity and shared our happiness. We are confident that Germany will push ahead with its internal reconstruction and, together with its friends and partners, continue to make a positive contribution to peace and stability in the world as a member of the European Union, NATO and the United Nations.
"During the past few weeks, Germany was ravaged by the worst flood it has seen for centuries. This flood cost lives and devastated many cities and regions. This disaster, the struggle to hold the waters back and the joint help provided for those affected by the disaster have brought people in our country closer together. We have witnessed the great power of solidarity.
"A host of states and countless people from around the world have also shown us this solidarity. My countrymen and I are grateful for the help and comfort we have received. This is something we will not forget.
"In the wake oft his disaster, people in Germany are asking more and more whether the natural disasters which are occurring with increasing frequency around the world are man-made and what we have to do together to preserve the natural sources of life.
This disaster has made protection of the climate and environment even more important in Germany. Moreover, we also know that a fundamental improvement in the economic and social situation in less developed countries is an essential prerequisite for effective environmental protection. There is thus a close link between the protection of the natural sources of life, development policy and the conditions for economic cooperation in our ever smaller world.
"For us Germans, national unity continues to be both a gift and an obligation. That is why the international community can continue to count on the Federal Republic of Germany to fulfill its role in the world - as a good neighbor and as a reliable friend and partner ..."
In January the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Jakarta had provided considerable aid to the victims of the floods which had devastated much of the Indonesian capital Jakarta. We felt this to be an obligation for us because of the longstanding friendship between our two countries.
I am convinced, that having shared these experiences in our two countries over the last months will even further strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the two people.
There is a lot that can be done in order to avoid similar catastrophes in the future and we will be glad to share thoughts and ideas with our Indonesian friends.
Apart from sharing this tragic fate in the past months, I am glad to see in my daily work here in Indonesia how deeply rooted our friendship is. The new political challenges which we have to face after the Sept. 11 will hopefully have another positive impact on our relations.
In the months after the despicable acts of terrorism in the U.S., Germans developed a vivid interest to learn more about Islam. For a long time books about this topic were simply sold out. This shows clearly that there is a new ground for mutual understanding between our people. The German government is now trying to support the dialogue with predominantly Muslim countries.
In this framework it has been made possible to support different seminars and other projects which have led to an ever better knowledge of different views and opinions in Indonesia and Germany. I am confident that these efforts will continue and strengthen the relationship between our countries.