Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement on Friday (6 October) on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN):
Together with ICAN, I am delighted that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to this organisation. The prize pays tribute to the work done by ICAN and all of the other organisations that are working towards a world free from nuclear weapons.
Along with all of these organisations, we are committed to disarmament and to a world without nuclear weapons. While we are not always of the same opinion regarding the ways in which we can achieve this objective, it is clear that the world is currently facing a spiral of fresh nuclear rearmament – not only in North Korea, but also here in Europe. Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN demonstrates the Nobel Committee’s keen awareness of this growing danger.
Tangible progress is urgently needed in order to achieve the objective of a world without nuclear weapons.
The Federal Government is therefore actively involved in a range of disarmament initiatives.
In the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), the Federal Government is cooperating with 11 other non-nuclear-weapon states, including Mexico and Chile, in order to advocate progress on nuclear disarmament in a dialogue with the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (P5). Progress has been made primarily with respect to transparency over the P5’s nuclear arsenals. The NPDI therefore considers itself to be an important bridge-builder between the non-nuclear-weapon states and the P5 and contributes its own positions and papers to all relevant Conferences on Disarmament, including the review cycles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). On 21 September 2017, the NPDI met at ministerial level on the fringes of this year’s UN General Assembly at the invitation of Foreign Minister Gabriel and his Japanese counterpart Kono, adopting Joint Statements on both nuclear disarmament and North Korea.
Together with Canada and the Netherlands and with the close involvement of the nuclear-weapon states, the Federal Government has initiated a process that is intended to culminate in negotiations on a ban on the production of fissile materials as part of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT – a “treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”). Banning the production of fissile materials is an important part of the step-by-step approach pursued by the Federal Government that seeks to ensure effective, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament.
The process closely coordinated by Germany, the Netherlands and Canada intends to identify potential elements of the FMCT treaty as part of a 25‑member high‑level Expert Preparatory Group in Geneva. In contrast to the prohibition treaty, the five nuclear‑weapon states recognised under the NPT – the US, France, the UK, Russia and China – are playing an active role in the process.
Work on negative security assurances in the context of the Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as long-term efforts to strengthen and continue to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear‑Test‑Ban Treaty (CTBT) as a member of the Group of Friends of the CTBT are further elements of the Federal Government’s step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament.
Germany is involved in efforts to put a robust and credible verification system in place as an essential element of future nuclear disarmament within the framework of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV). It was with this in mind that the Federal Government hosted a meeting of the IPNDV in Berlin for the first time in March 2017.