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Stopping the negative trend in disarmament

The Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is also known as the Non Proliferation Treaty

The Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is also known as the Non Proliferation Treaty, © dpa

11.06.2019 - Article

Disarmament and nuclear non proliferation are in the midst of a crisis. Today (11 June), representatives from 16 countries came together for a ministerial meeting in Stockholm to discuss how to reverse the negative trend.

Foreign Minister Maas said that the crisis in nuclear non proliferation “poses a threat to world peace”. This is not only demonstrated by the conflict surrounding the nuclear agreement with Iran. The Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was therefore the focus of the ministerial meeting in Stockholm. Heiko Maas regards the Treaty as “the cornerstone of the nuclear order for fifty years”. Without it, many more states would have nuclear weapons today.

Nuclear weapon states have to disarm

Foreign Minister Maas at the disarmament conference in Stockholm
Foreign Minister Maas at the disarmament conference in Stockholm© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.net

The NPT consists of three pillars: non proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear material. However, the Treaty is being increasingly called into question. On the one hand, the nuclear weapon states have achieved too little progress towards tangible disarmament during the last years. On the other, there is a risk that other states have acquired nuclear weapons, or will acquire them in future. Two acute examples of this are North Korea and Iran.

Next year’s NPT Review Conference is an important milestone. The main aim today was to draw up a plan on how to ensure the success of the Review Conference.

Uniting goal: A world free of nuclear weapons

The participants in the Stockholm conference were non nuclear weapon states which share a long term aim: a world free of nuclear weapons. However, they are pursuing different strategies to reach this goal. One group of states, for example, advocates an immediate ban on nuclear weapons. Conversely, Germany, like all NATO member states and many other partners, takes a pragmatic approach. The German Government believes that the aim of nuclear disarmament is only realistic if pursued through concrete steps and with the nuclear weapon states on board.

Follow up conference in Berlin

Foreign Minister Maas at the disarmament conference in Stockholm
Foreign Minister Maas at the disarmament conference in Stockholm© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.net

Germany will continue to work with great commitment at international level to strengthen the set of rules for disarmament and non proliferation. The German Government also intends to bring this issue up at the UN Security Council.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas commented as follows:

Disarmament must have a more prominent place on the international agenda. Today, I proposed that we meet in Berlin next year to continue our discussion.

Strengthening the Non Proliferation Treaty would also be the main theme of the follow up conference in Berlin.

Additional content

The Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) obliges the nuclear weapon states to strive for complete nuclear disarmament. In return, non nuclear-weapon states refrain from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

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