Key Messages on Germany and DisarmamentEnlarge image (© picture-alliance / Uwe Gerig)
1. For Germany, disarmament and arms control are key building blocks for a global security architecture of the future. They are not a concern of the past but require urgent attention in the present and in the future.
2. Germany fully supports President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. Germany is convinced that the uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear weapons is one of the greatest threats to our security. Not only is there a risk that the number of nuclear weapons states may double over the next ten years, but there is also the risk that terrorists may obtain nuclear weapons. Curbing this danger is a matter of survival, which is why disarmament and arms control are hugely important for the whole of humanity. Enlarge image Foreign Minister Westerwelle welcomed the new US nuclear strategy and has called disarmament a key foreign policy issue of this decade. (© picture-alliance/dpa)
3. One of the main international instruments is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which sets down three fundamental principles: first, the duty of non proliferation; second, the principle of general and complete disarmament, and third, the undisputed right of all countries to civilian use of nuclear energy. The Agreement is based on a reciprocal promise: nuclear weapon states agree to strive for complete nuclear disarmament, while non-nuclear weapon states refrain from developing nuclear weapons. The NPT Review Conference in New York in May 2010 agreed on a final document that contains a forward-looking action plan regarding the three pillars of the treaty. All participants expressly commit themselves to the goal of completely eliminating all nuclear weapons. Moreover, there is new momentum toward the mandate to create a nuclear-weapon free zone in the Middle East.
Enlarge image President Obama and Russian President Medvedev signed the New START Treaty in April 2010. (© picture-alliance/dpa) 4. The New START treaty between the United States of America and Russia which was signed in April 2010 and entered into force in February 2011 after ratification by the US Senate and the Russian Parliament is of great importance in this respect. The New START Treaty signals that the two leading nuclear powers, which between them possess more than 90 percent of all nuclear weapons, are taking their disarmament responsibilities seriously. The treaty may also pave the way for further negotiations on reducing the number of tactical nuclear weapons.
5. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is one of the most significant multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament instruments. The verification system installed by the treaty´s preparatory commission CTBTO ensures even now that small nuclear tests do not go undetected. Germany has supported the CTBT from the beginning and is the third largest contributor to the budget. The CTBT´s entry into force - long overdue since 1996 - and the ensuing legal ban on all nuclear testing would be a milestone towards the long-term goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Germany has called on the nine countries still needed for entry into force to ratify the treaty as soon as possible.
6. The E3+3 partners (Germany, France, Great Britain, the United States, Russia and China) continue their engagement to achieve a diplomatic solution to adress concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme with a dual approach of an offer of talks and sanctions pressure. The E3+3´s offer of dialogue remains valid, although Iran, in spite of regular calls to do so from the IAEA Board of Governors and the E3+3, continues to fail to reveal the full extent of its nuclear programme to the IAEA or to fulfil its international obligation to cooperate fully with the UN Security Council. Iran must address these issues to make talks with the E3+3 that re-started in December 2010 and January 2011 meaningful.
7. Germany sees the Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD) as a unique tool within the global disarmament machinery. It regrets that for a long period, the CD has not contributed to progress on multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation. In 2009, the CD demonstrated its relevance and capacities when its member states did reach consensus on a Programme of Work, which included the beginning of negotiations on a Fissile-Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). This consensus needs to be re-established and made sustainable. Germany acknowledges security concerns on the part of some CD member states. However, given the fact that the CD operates by consensus, states will be able to protect their interest within the course of FMCT negotiations. With increasing understanding about the risks nuclear weapons pose to international security, the international community cannot afford any more delay. If the CD’s standstill continues, the international community will have to find ways to resolve this problem.
Enlarge image United Nations headquarters in New York (© picture-alliance/dpa) 8. Germany continues to actively contribute the United Nation’s fora focussing on disarmament and non-proliferation. It regularly tables resolutions in the General Assembly’s First Committee. Germany supports world-wide efforts to implement the obligations set by UN Security Council Resolution 1540 which intends to prevent non-State actors from developing, acquiring, manufacturing, possessing, transporting, transferring or using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their delivery invited participants of the United Nations Disarmament Fellowship Program to Germany to acquaint themselves with German efforts in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.
9. Conventional Arms Control continues to be indispensable as an element of the comprehensive and cooperative security architecture in Europe. Therefore, Germany strongly supports current efforts to preserve and modernize the CFE regime. Our aim is a modernized conventional arms control regime which reflects today’s security concerns and strengthens predictability, stability and mutual trust in Europe.