Efforts are currently under way around the world to determine the future of the New Start Treaty and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, which are crucial in terms of the non-proliferation and disarmament architecture. In addition, the Non‑Proliferation Treaty Review Conference is scheduled to take place in the autumn of 2021. Moreover, reshaping Russian-American relations will become conceivable with the inauguration of the new US President.
The member states of the Stockholm Group are meeting today (6 January) to discuss how these developments can be harnessed to bring about greater arms control and disarmament. Last year, the member states made 22 specific proposals, and today’s ministerial meeting will focus on how these can be implemented.
At the invitation of the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Swedish counterpart Anne Linde will chair the video conference from Amman, which will be attended by foreign ministers and high-ranking officials from the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Major challenges facing nuclear disarmament
Prior to his departure for Jordan, Maas emphasised the major challenges facing nuclear disarmament around the world:
International arms control has been weakened rather than strengthened in the last few years by various factors and developments. That applies in particular to the sphere of nuclear disarmament. I consider this trend to be extremely dangerous.
Disarmament and a world free of nuclear weapons are and remain key priorities of the Federal Government. This is also in the interests of European security.
Multilateral initiative for disarmament diplomacy
The Stockholm Initiative was launched in 2019 with the aim of strengthening disarmament diplomacy within the context of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Article VI of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty obliges the nuclear-weapon states to pursue steps towards nuclear disarmament. The members of the Stockholm Initiative also want to help build bridges between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states.
Alongside Jordan, Sweden and Germany, the Stockholm Initiative includes Argentina, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.