Nuclear weapons are a reality. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has shown that credible deterrence and defence are necessary to safeguard security in Europe. Russia even went so far as to issue nuclear threats. That is irresponsible.
NATO’s nuclear deterrence must therefore remain credible. A world where the states challenging the international rules-based order are in possession of nuclear weapons but NATO is not, is not a safe world. That is why the German Government decided to procure F-35s. These replacements for our current planes will be deployed within the context of NATO's nuclear sharing.
Germany’s goal remains a world free of nuclear weapons
At the same time, the German Government is committed to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. On the path towards this goal we urgently need new impetus for nuclear disarmament. The German Government intends to assume a leading role in this area.
For Germany, the central framework for action in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation remains the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which almost all countries in the world have joined. Within the framework of the Stockholm Initiative Germany, in cooperation with partners, has developed concrete proposals to strengthen the NPT and thereby opened up a way to make the world safer from nuclear weapons.
Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
Another forum for exchange on this common goal is the Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The TPNW entered into force on 22 January 2021, after having been ratified by more than 50 states. The second meeting of all States Parties began on 27 November in New York.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons prohibits, among other things, the deployment, possession and transit, storage and stationing of nuclear weapons. These extensive prohibitions create a conflict of interests between the TPNW and the obligations that the NATO allies have assumed, for instance as part of nuclear sharing. For this reason neither Germany nor other NATO members have joined the TPNW.
Shared concern about the stalemate in the area of nuclear disarmament
However, the German Government shares the concern of the States Parties to the TPNW about the stalemate in the area of nuclear disarmament. Like several other allies and close partners, the German Government therefore participated in the second Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW as an observer.
The German Government intends to continue the dialogue with the States Parties to the TPNW on the question of how further progress on nuclear disarmament can be made in the current security environment.
The German delegation in New York was headed by Susanne Riegraf, Deputy Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control. As a Director in the Directorate-General for International Order, the United Nations and Arms Control at the Federal Foreign Office, she is responsible for the very issues discussed in New York.