Speech by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the CTBT Ministerial Meeting

24.09.2008 - Speech

We are witnessing the beginning of the first truly global century: an age in which a country's political weight and economic opportunities no longer largely depend on its geographical size, nor on the number of tanks, nuclear weapons or missiles it possesses.

The age of bloc confrontations, in which nuclear weapons created a cynical security, is over. We cannot resolve the problems of our time with the politics of mistrustful isolation and deterrence which prevailed during the Cold War. We are experiencing an age in which markets and people are ever more closely interlinked, in which the importance of national borders is diminishing. For the first time in humankind's history, we can only resolve central problems if we work together.

I call upon all political decision-makers to draw the right conclusions from this. We need a “new thinking”: away from traditional power politics and towards a long-term policy which identifies common interests and seeks common opportunities. That is the way forward!

And that is also the best argument in favour of a renaissance in the sphere of disarmament and arms control. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction neither create modernity nor prosperity. On the contrary, if a growing number of countries have them, they will create less security – even for those countries in possession of them.

That's why, despite many setbacks, we will continue to seek a resolution of the Iran conflict and endeavour – together with our partners – to encourage Iran to play a constructive role in resolving the conflicts in the Middle East, as well as in Afghanistan.

That's why I put forward a proposal on the multilateralization of the fuel cycle. We want to show alternatives which minimize risks to those countries which are trying to close the fuel cycle.

I therefore call upon all states to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the CTBT. For its entry into force would mean a huge security gain for us all.

The CTBT is a core element in the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation system.

I congratulate Colombia, which ratified the Treaty at the beginning of the year. I was pleased to learn that India confirmed its test moratorium just a few days ago. I would very much welcome it if India would now decide to accede to the CTBT, thus bringing the Treaty an important step towards its entry into force.

Not least, I would like to remind you of the appeal by Henry Kissinger, William Perry, Sam Nunn and George Shultz that the US ratify the CTBT.

Even now, the CTBT has gone a long way towards consolidating a political stance against nuclear testing. To ensure that this finally results in a legally binding ban, it needs the decisive and staunch support of us all.

Thank you very much.

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