Mongolia and Germany may be several thousand kilometres apart, but our countries nonetheless share a long tradition of exchange and cooperation. For that reason there is a higher proportion of people with a knowledge of German in Mongolia than in virtually any other Asian country. Many Mongolian university graduates and skilled workers studied or trained in Germany. Today they act as an important bridge that helps to narrow the geographical distance between us.
We are also united by our experience of fundamental political changes in 1989 and 1990, when many courageous people in the GDR pushed down the Berlin Wall. Their desire for freedom paved the way for Germany’s peaceful reunification. At the same time, the Mongolian people too were fighting for democracy, the rule of law and human rights. In 1992 they finally adopted a new constitution, therefore enabling the country’s transformation into a parliamentary democracy and creating the conditions for the establishment of a market economy. Germany supports Mongolia in these endeavours. If the transition process is to succeed, however, the changes must extend to the entire socio-political system, even more so than hitherto. This means effectively separating powers and strengthening the relevant institutions, developing a reliable legal system, promoting broad political participation, respecting citizens’ rights and freedoms and giving everyone access to education. This also implies the need for regulatory frameworks which reconcile economic efficiency, social responsibility and environmental protection.
Mongolia is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources and is now making rapid progress with respect to exploiting these resources. In order to develop a dynamic, modern economy, it needs reliable partners interested in a fair balance of interests and in mutually beneficial cooperation.
Germany is one of the world’s most productive industrialised nations. Many German firms – both large companies and small and medium-sized businesses – are global market leaders. In Mongolia, as elsewhere, the “Made in Germany” tag is regarded as a sign of outstanding quality. But our companies depend in part on raw materials from abroad. Our countries’ interests are mutually complementary. Mongolia needs modern technologies and know-how as well as experienced management if it is to achieve its economic and social objectives. Our firms supply state-of-the-art, top-quality products which are environmentally friendly and economical in their use of energy. German companies are willing to share their experience and expertise with their partners. They train their staff themselves and ensure they are familiar with the latest technologies. Not least in view of Mongolia’s growing demand for skilled workers, this is an important plus point.
Germany can be a partner for Mongolia not only in the extractive industries, but also in downstream value chains and in the development of an efficient infrastructure. During my visit to Mongolia in October 2011 our countries signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of raw materials, industry and technology that will form the political basis for a partnership which is sure to be further developed and intensified. I am confident that companies on both sides will fill the paper agreement with life by agreeing on contracts and specific cooperation projects themselves.
Germany is a perfect fit for Mongolia’s “third neighbour policy” under which it seeks to diversify economic and political relations. By the same token, Germany, and the whole of Europe, is dependent on reliable partners around the world. It is therefore in our mutual interest to further develop and intensify cooperation at both bilateral and international levels. One feature of a successful partnership is the assumption of joint responsibility in the world, and indeed, German and Mongolian soldiers are among those working together to help ensure peace and security in Afghanistan.
These are good conditions for further consolidating relations between our countries and pursuing shared interests in a fair partnership based on trust. We should seize this opportunity for the benefit of our people.
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