Germany, one of the five new UN Security Council members in 2011, pledged to be "reliable, responsible and a committed partner" in the body that holds major decisions on world peace and security, dpa reported.
But the 15-nation council, despite its important political responsibilities, has been known also as an unyielding machine when it comes to effecting reforms. It has remained mostly unchanged since its establishment in 1945 - dominated by the five permanent members.
It still considers Germany and Japan as enemies - on paper only - to the Free World that won against Nazi Germany and Japan and ended World War II in 1945. The UN Charter still mentions those two countries as state enemies and efforts to change that status have bogged down in world bureaucracies and procrastination.
Germany and Japan, former German Axis partners in the World War, are today's major contributors to peace and security. Japan had just exited the council last month, after a two-year term.
Germany, Colombia, Portugal, South Africa and India assumed their two-year terms on January 1. For Germany, it is the fifth time that it will be serving as an elected member while pushing for permanent membership on the panel.
Of the five new members in 2011, India and South Africa also want to become permanent members, a status currently held by the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - the five World War II victors.
The other five elected members whose terms will expire end of 2011 are Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria.
Germany was the only new member to have issued a statement upon assuming the council membership on Sunday. The UN Security Council and UN were still on New Year holiday on Monday.
"We embark on this new task well prepared and with clear ideas about what we want to achieve," German Foreign Minister
Guido Westerwelle said in the statement. "In the Security Council, Germany will be a reliable, responsible and committed partner."
"One thing must be clear here: Germany will live up to its international responsibilities - but it also stands for a culture of military restraint," it said.
Germany has contributed sizable numbers of troops to UN operations, particularly in Afghanistan.
Germany said Afghanistan is an important issue in 2011 because the international community will launch the process to hand security responsibility over to the Kabul government under President
"Our aim already this year is to make significant headway on the handover of responsibility and by the end of 2011 for the first time to reduce the size of our Bundeswehr contingent there," it said, referring to the German army.
"We will therefore strongly support the efforts under way to bring about a political solution."
The council's rotating presidency in January is assumed by Bosnia-Herzegovina, which faces some major political issues on its agenda, including the unresolved dispute over the presidency in Ivory Coast, the two popular votes for self-determination in Sudan and other thorny issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and nuclear activities in Iran and North Korea.