New impetus for nuclear disarmament: Stockholm Initiative meets in Madrid

Foreign Minister Maas travels to Madrid

Foreign Minister Maas travels to Madrid, © Thomas Imo/photothek.net

05.07.2021 - Article

The 16 countries of the Stockholm Initiative have drafted proposals on nuclear disarmament.

Today, Foreign Minister Maas is meeting the Swedish and Spanish Foreign Ministers in Madrid in order to call for joint steps towards nuclear disarmament prior to the Review Conference of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty.

Today’s meeting in Madrid is the fourth meeting of the foreign ministers of the Stockholm Initiative. Already in February 2020, representatives of 16 countries convened in Berlin to agree concrete proposals on nuclear disarmament.

Using positive momentum

In January this year, another meeting took place in Amman. Since then, after several setbacks in previous years, such as the end of the INF Treaty in 2019, there have been some recent positive developments.

At the beginning of the year, the United States and Russia were able to agree on an extension of the New START Treaty, which limits the strategic launchers and warheads of both countries. A meeting between US President Biden and Russia’s President Putin in Geneva on 16 June confirmed the intention of both sides to conduct further talks on arms control.

In light of new technological developments, the revival of disarmament diplomacy is urgently needed in order to pre-empt the potential risk of a new arms race. Before the meeting, Foreign Minister Maas, together with his Spanish colleague Arancha González Laya and his Swedish colleague Ann Linde, issued the following statement on this topic:

More than ever, we need to see progress. Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agreements have been continually eroded in recent years. New tensions and distrust between the global powers have thwarted further reductions in nuclear weaponry.“

Proposals for the nuclear-weapon states

The Stockholm Initiative makes proposals so that the nuclear-weapon states can take further steps towards disarmament, as set down in the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The 16 states of the Stockholm Initiative, all of them non-nuclear-weapon states from all continents, submitted 22 specific proposals in advance of the Review Conference. In this way, the Non‑Proliferation Treaty could be strengthened not least through the following stepping stones:

  • Continue to reduce nuclear arsenals.
  • Ensure the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
  • Reduce the role of nuclear weapons in strategies and doctrines.
  • Minimise the risk of conflict and accidental use of nuclear weapons.
  • Develop credible and robust nuclear disarmament verification capacities.
  • Unblock negotiations on a treaty prohibiting fissile material production for military purposes.


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