Advancing nuclear disarmament: meeting of the Stockholm Initiative in Berlin

Ministerial meeting of the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament

Ministerial meeting of the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, © Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

25.02.2020 - Article

Today, representatives from 16 countries, including many foreign ministers, have gathered in Berlin to elaborate proposals on nuclear disarmament within the context of the Stockholm Initiative.

The goal: to overcome the stalemate in the area of nuclear disarmament and to strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty

How can the Non-Proliferation Treaty be strengthened? How can the nuclear order be safeguarded? Those are the issues that 16 foreign ministers have come together in Berlin to discuss within the context of the Stockholm Initiative, which Sweden set up last year. It aims to inject fresh practical impetus into nuclear disarmament and build bridges between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states. Steps are now to be taken to strengthen the Treaty in the form of concrete practical recommendations ranging from the disclosure of nuclear weapons supplies, through dialogue on military doctrines, up to the reduction of nuclear arsenals. In the course of the rest of the week, Foreign Minister Maas will report to the Security Council in New York on the outcome of today’s meeting.

Maas stated:

We want to overcome the stalemate in the area of nuclear disarmament. The Non-Proliferation Treaty is in grave danger if we do not invest more political capital and make the Treaty fit for the future!

For the Treaty celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – and is coming under increasing pressure. 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 the risk that other states have acquired nuclear weapons, or will acquire them in future. Two acute examples of this are North Korea and Iran. The NPT Review Conference this year will be an important milestone for the future of the arms control architecture.

Commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty

For the Stockholm Initiative countries, commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty is a priority. The long-term goal is a world free from nuclear weapons. For these countries, it is therefore clear that the obligations from the Non-Proliferation Treaty remain in force and must form the basis of further implementation of the Treaty. The task is now to overcome the stalemate in the area of nuclear disarmament and establish a firm foundation for the future in order to maintain peace and security in the long term.

Cornerstone of nuclear arms control: the Non-Proliferation Treaty

The Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the nuclear order. It consists of three pillars which regulate all key areas of nuclear technology: non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear material. Without it, many more countries would now be in possession of nuclear weapons; without it, dismantling overt and covert nuclear programmes would not be possible.


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