In Astana today (29 August), Foreign Minister Westerwelle took part in the international conference “From a nuclear test ban to a nuclear weapons-free world”. Kazakh President Nazarbayev opened the conference, and Foreign Minister Westerwelle gave a speech underscoring Germany’s commitment to nuclear non proliferation and disarmament.
On the fringes of the conference, Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement:
Here in Astana on this UN Day against Nuclear Tests, we have reaffirmed our commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons. Although nearly 500 nuclear weapons were tested in Kazakhstan during the Soviet era, Central Asia has now become a region free of nuclear weapons.
A comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty is an important step towards a world without nuclear weapons. Germany is the third-largest donor to the nuclear test-ban organization. This organization already has the capacity to detect nuclear tests worldwide, meaning that secret testing is scarcely possible any longer. Our aim is a worldwide ban on nuclear tests.
Global support for a world without nuclear weapons is growing. US President Obama articulated this vision more than three years ago. In NATO too, we have committed ourselves to this goal in the last two years.
We want to follow up on progress in the areas of strategic nuclear weapons with similar progress on other weapons systems such as substrategic nuclear weapons. It’s clear that this is a major project which won’t be completed overnight. But in the interest of our own security, we will remain steadfast in our engagement. Disarmament policy is peace policy.