Ambassador in New York Christian Wenaweser

Ambassador in New York
Christian Wenaweser

exclusiv in an interview
with Ambassador Christian Wenaweser
Embassy of the Principality
of Liechtenstein in New York

• You have been Liechtenstein’s
   plenipotentiary ambassador
   and permanent representative
   at the United Nations in New York since
   1st October 2002. What is your personal
   upshot after almost four years?

My personal upshot is very  positive. We are very actively involved here and have a profile that is disproportionate to the size of our country, which is apprecia-tively acknowledged to us over and over by other countries. In these four years I have personally been able to assume numerous leadership duties, which  constitutes a large portion of my  personal satisfaction. All of this is only possible thanks to the support through a first-rate team and the security through my superiors in Vaduz.

• According to your personal assessment
   of the activity as a diplomat,
   where were you able to provide
   inspirations which were accepted
   and implemented?

Most specific of all through my various chairmanship duties: In the past four years as ambassador I have been in charge of an executive committee of the general assembly, the committee on the security of UN personnel, the task force on crime and aggression, and - last but not least - the task force on Security Council reform. Liechtenstein is a very small country with limited personnel and financial means, which is why we are only able to take a seat in special committees on a very limited basis. That’s why chairmanship duties are ideal for profiling a small state.

• What does your time management
   look like, or how can the citizens
   of Liechtenstein envision your daily
   agenda and your activity?

As a rule, I start my day very early, since the morning hours are the time when I can correspond in peace and quiet with Vaduz and other agencies in Europe. Starting at nine o’clock in the morning I am normally dealing with appointments and meetings. On most days I have a working meal, whereby I especially try to limit this to the dinner. On top of that there are social obligations, lectures, etc. My daily routine is very variable. If I do not have dinner I normally end my  working day between eight and nine in the evening. I try to do as little as possible on weekends, mainly reading and paperwork at home.

• What are or were personally
   important moments in your activity
   as ambassador?

At any rate, one highlight was the work on the Security Council reform dossier. This was intellectually and politically extremely demanding, and brought me into contact with the foreign ministers from countries such as the USA, Japan, Germany, etc. That was a fascinating time.

• What does the cooperation between
   the Principality of Liechtenstein
   and the host country look like?
   Where do the main emphases lie?

First of all, the bilateral contacts between Liechtenstein and the USA proceed via Ambassadress Fritsche in Washington. Here I have a solid and close relationship with the local mission of the USA, the most powerful member of the United Nations. This is indispensable for my work. In the past months we have  consulted intensively, above all on the topics of Security Council reform and   terrorism.

• The EU is able to admit states of various
   sizes, for example Malta.
   Which advantages of EU membership
   would you perceive for Liechtenstein
   as a current EEA member state?

There are no advantages whatsoever from my view as UN ambassador. As a non-member of the EU we have much greater creative freedom and entirely  different opportunities to present Liechtenstein as an independent and sovereign state. Naturally this is a one-sided perspective, and the Euro-political considerations are of a very different nature. Yet here it also seems to me that we can be very satisfied if the EEA
continues to function for quite some time to come.

• As ambassador, do you have a vision for
   the future, or what means a lot to you?

I wish for a cosmopolitan Liechtenstein which perceives globalisation as an opportunity for the small state. The global networking today is so intensive and the developments are so rapid that we are de facto somewhat overburdened with everything. We must continually adapt ourselves and understand that our educational level and our prosperity are our great opportunities. This includes the fact that the world does not come to an end at Lake Constance.

• What do you personally
   wish for the future?

I wish for more rationality in world politics - and the understanding that the development in poor countries ultimately lies in our own interests.