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“Disarmament is a matter of survival”

Foreign Minister Maas addresses the Tiergarten Conference.

Foreign Minister Maas addresses the Tiergarten Conference., © Xander Heinl/photothek.net

27.06.2018 - Article

Noch immer gibt es zu viele Atomwaffen auf der Welt. Für Außenminister Maas ist klar: Das Thema muss wieder ganz nach oben auf die Tagesordnung.

There are still too many nuclear weapons in the world. For Foreign Minister Maas, it is clear that the topic must be put back at the very top of the agenda.

Foreign Minister Maas has urged the international community to do more to advance disarmament and arms control. Speaking on Wednesday (27 June), Maas said Germany would do everything it could at international level to build confidence in order to make progress on reducing stockpiles possible once again. The Foreign Minister presented his stance on disarmament issues at the Tiergarten Conference in Berlin, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty.

Re‑establishing communication

In Maas’s words: “Disarmament is not a passing fad; it is a matter of survival for all of humanity.” With a view to revitalising the worldwide dialogue on disarmament, the Foreign Minister defined three major tasks for Germany and Europe.

Political settlements that conform with international law are needed to end the conflicts surrounding North Korea and Iran. Germany will continue to campaign to preserve the nuclear agreement with Iran, a deal that effectively prevents the nuclear rearmament of the country. With regard to the talks between the United States and North Korea, Maas called for visible progress towards the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea and reaffirmed Germany’s readiness to contribute its technical expertise to that endeavour.

New challenges posed by autonomous weapons systems

Maas went on to say that Germany and Europe will need to employ judicious diplomacy to help dispel the dangerous lack of communication between the US and Russia. In addition, the rapid development of new autonomous weapons systems and artificial intelligence requires new responses. “We cannot allow the “old” WMDs to simply be replaced by new technologies, with the same dreadful results,” he said. Maas observed that Germany is thus working with France to see all the parties to the Geneva Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons release a joint statement establishing the principle of human control of weapons systems, with the ultimate goal of establishing a worldwide ban on fully autonomous killing machines.

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