Germany has left the UN Security council after its two-year term ended with the year 2012. In the new year, Germany will return to being simply a member of the United Nations. However, the stint on the council has made a stir, both positive and negative. Two abstentions marked the nation's term especially. The first, an abstention on a vote regarding the no-fly zone over Libya, has been met with criticism from some. It is clear, however, that this abstention was more a result of a lack of clarity regarding Germany's domestic policy.
A much more well-known instance is the abstention of Germany in the vote regarding Palestine's recognition as a UN observer status. Instead of voting against the proposal and showing its traditional solidarity with Israel, Germany's representatives abstained because they felt that 'the settlement policy pursued...is seen by the German government as a major obstacle on the road to a two-state solution.' This abstention was seen as a diplomatic and appropriate move by many.
It seems that overall Germany's term was a positive one, raising 'several important issues' and establishing a strong position on the council. Other issues such as the role of children in conflicts, climate change, and policy for Afghanistan, were also brought to the table and examined by the German representatives. Although Germany may serve another term on the council, it is unlikely that it will gain a permanent post. The general opinion states that Germany used its time well and made an impression, bringing a new voice to old and new issues.