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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Merkel warns Trump against 'destroying' UN

German Chancellor says multilateralism is the solution to many of the world's problems

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the Benedictine abbey in Ottobeuren, southern Germany. AFP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the Benedictine abbey in Ottobeuren, southern Germany. AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday warned US President Donald Trump against "destroying" the United Nations.

"I believe that destroying something without having developed something new is extremely dangerous," Merkel said at a regional election campaign event in Bavaria.

The veteran leader – a close ally of Trump's bugbear Barack Obama while he was president – added that she believed multilateralism was the solution to many of the world's problems.

Mr Trump failed to see the possibility for win-win solutions, she said, instead seeing only one winner from any international negotiation.

In his second appearance before the UN's annual gathering last week, Mr Trump told the General Assembly that he and his administration "reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism".

"Global governance" is a form of "coercion and domination" that "responsible nations must defend against", he charged.

Ms Merkel's opposing view to the US leader puts her in the same camp as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who warned before Mr Trump took the podium in New York Tuesday that "today, world order is increasingly chaotic".

Mr Guterres had defended international cooperation as the only way to tackle the challenges and threats of increasingly chaotic times.

"Democratic principles are under siege," Mr Guterres said. "The world is more connected, yet societies are becoming more fragmented. Challenges are growing outward, while many people are turning inward."

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On other tense subjects, Mr Trump's criticism of Germany's pursuit of a direct energy pipeline from Russia drew a dismissive headshake from a member of the U.S. ally's delegation.

He told Germany on Tuesday to follow Poland's example and not rely on Russia for its energy supplies which could make it vulnerable to "extortion and intimidation".

Russia's Gazprom and its European partners are developing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, designed to double natural gas volumes pumped from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, avoiding traditional transit route Ukraine.

"Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave nations vulnerable to extortion and intimidation and that is why we congratulate European states such as Poland for leading construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russiato meet their energy needs," Mr Trump told the United Nations General Assembly.

"Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course."