Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (21 April) on the adoption of the Federal Government Annual Disarmament Report for 2020:
Arms control creates security and is a basis for predictability and trust. The past year 2020 once again put the international disarmament and arms control architecture under considerable pressure, not least due to the difficulties in upholding the nuclear agreement with Iran and the Open Skies Treaty. Nonetheless, we worked with our international partners to counteract the further dismantling of the rules-based order. In response to our proposal, the UN Security Council discussed ways to achieve nuclear disarmament during our membership for the first time since 2011. We pushed forward our initiative on the future of arms control with reference to new technologies such as artificial intelligence and hypersonic systems, and provided input for a Strategic Compass at EU level. We spoke out against violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention not only in The Hague within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and repeatedly pointed out the value of an international arms control architecture.
Now these efforts are starting to bear fruit. The beginning of US President Biden’s term of office at the start of 2021 has provided disarmament policy with fresh momentum. This is reflected in the extension of the New START Treaty with Russia, and in the recommencement of talks on the nuclear agreement with Iran in Vienna. We need to take advantage of this newly acquired momentum in order to swiftly and resolutely prepare the ground for farther reaching arms control measures. Tomorrow’s arms control needs to incorporate more players and focus on the new technologies of cyberspace.
We intend to continue to strengthen the multilateral framework for arms control this year. The central NPT Review Conference, which was postponed due to the pandemic, is scheduled to take place in the summer. Within the context of the Stockholm Initiative, coordinated by Sweden and Germany, we have drafted concrete proposals in cooperation with our partners, from Ottawa to Wellington, with the aim of moving closer to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons in dialogue with the nuclear states.
Background information on the Annual Disarmament Report:
The Federal Cabinet approved the Annual Disarmament Report for 2020 today. The Federal Government is required by the German Bundestag to submit a report on the status of progress on arms control, disarmament, non-proliferation and the development of the capabilities of the armed forces by 30 April each year. The Annual Report for 2020, which comes to around 160 pages, presents the Federal Government’s activities in the area of disarmament and arms control policy over the past year. It also describes current technological and other challenges in the area of conventional arms as well as with regard to the disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, including their delivery means.