Prior to departing for the third ministerial meeting of the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (6 January):
International arms control has been weakened rather than strengthened in the last few years by various factors and developments. That applies in particular to the sphere of nuclear disarmament. I consider this trend to be extremely dangerous. Disarmament and a world free of nuclear weapons remain vitally important to Germany – not least because Europe’s security depends on it.
Together with numerous other states, we are focusing our efforts on changing this course and ensuring that we find our way back to effective nuclear arms control and disarmament. With this goal in mind, we collaborated with 15 other states in Berlin last year to draft 22 very concrete proposals within the framework of the Stockholm Initiative. In Amman today, we will discuss their implementation and the way forward.
Key decisions which affect disarmament will be made in 2021: the future of major agreements such as New START and the JCPoA are at stake and Russian-American relations will be reshaped once Joe Biden takes up office as the new US President. What is more, the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is due to take place this year. We intend to do everything we can to ensure that the right decisions are made.
The Stockholm Initiative was launched in 2019 with the aim of strengthening disarmament diplomacy within the context of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty obliges the nuclear-weapon states to pursue steps towards nuclear disarmament. The members of the Stockholm Initiative want to inject fresh impetus into nuclear disarmament in the run-up to the next NPT Review Conference this summer, and to build bridges between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states. As well as Sweden and Germany, the Stockholm Initiative includes Argentina, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.