German FM Maas calls for trust between nuclear-weapon states

By Monitoring Desk
Tuesday – July 6, 2021
BERLIN (Germany): German foreign minister (FM) Heiko Maas said, on Monday, where tensions and mistrust predominate, there is also a risk of a new arms race that is why, more than ever, we need steps that create trust through verifiable agreements between nuclear-weapon states.

According to a press release, German FM issued a statement before departing for the fourth ministerial meeting of the Stockholm initiative (SI) for nuclear disarmament in Madrid.

In the SI, we, along with 16 further non-nuclear weapon states from various continents, have made proposals on how we can get back on the track to nuclear disarmament. This can only succeed if we work together with the nuclear-weapon states.

At Monday’s ministerial meeting of the SI in Madrid, we will therefore call for new momentum in nuclear disarmament even before the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) review conference.

Since our last meeting early this year in Amman, we have seen that change is possible.

Under United States (US) president Joe Biden, the new strategic arms reduction treaty (New START) with Russia has been extended.

Just three weeks ago, Russia and the US pledged that a nuclear confrontation in the future must be prevented at all costs.

We now need to build on that through clear steps by which the nuclear-weapon states live up to their commitments to and responsibility for disarmament.

The SI’s proposals on this are on the table. The foundation for a new generation of arms-control agreements must be laid so that nuclear arsenals can be further reduced.

Binding steps, such as the entry into force of the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty (CTBT), must finally be achieved.

We therefore call on all states that have not yet signed or ratified the treaty to do so now.

According to another press release, in January this year, another meeting took place in Amman.

Since then, after several setbacks in previous years, such as the end of the intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty in 2019, there have been some recent positive developments.

At the beginning of the year, the US and Russia were able to agree on an extension of the New START treaty, which limits the strategic launchers and warheads of both countries.

A meeting between US president Biden and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16 confirmed the intention of both sides to conduct further talks on arms control.

In light of new technological developments, the revival of disarmament diplomacy is urgently needed in order to pre-empt the potential risk of a new arms race.

Before the meeting, FM Maas, together with his Spanish colleague Arancha González Laya and his Swedish colleague Ann Linde, issued a statement on this topic.

More than ever, we need to see progress. Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agreements have been continually eroded in recent years.

New tensions and distrust between the global powers have thwarted further reductions in nuclear weaponry.

The SI makes proposals so that the nuclear-weapon states can take further steps towards disarmament, as set down in the NPT.

The 16 states of the SI, all of them non-nuclear-weapon states from all continents, submitted 22 specific proposals in advance of the review conference.

In this way, the NPT could be strengthened not least through continuation to reduce nuclear arsenals, ensuring the entry into force of the comprehensive test ban treaty, reducing the role of nuclear weapons in strategies and doctrines, minimising the risk of conflict and accidental use of nuclear weapons, developing credible and robust nuclear disarmament verification capacities and unblocking of negotiations on a treaty prohibiting fissile material production for military purposes.