Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (9 June) after a virtual conference with the members of the Stockholm Initiative on Nuclear Disarmament:
Regrettably, the architecture of arms control has suffered yet more bitter setbacks in recent weeks: these include the United States’ withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty as well as the worrying developments surrounding the nuclear programme in Iran. Preventing a new nuclear arms race is an existential matter for humankind.
We must therefore do everything in our power to overcome the impasse on nuclear disarmament. We cannot wait for the eye of the storm before we wake up; we have to act together now. We share that resolve with a whole range of countries in Europe, America, Asia, which make up the Stockholm Initiative.
When we last met in person, at our Berlin meeting in February, we jointly drew up 22 concrete measures to generate fresh impetus for nuclear disarmament. We came together again today, and it is clear that more and more countries are supporting us in that endeavour.
The keystone of nuclear arms control is the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which turned 50 this April. Our task must be to ensure it is fit for the future – not least in the context of the Review Conference, which was postponed this year because of the pandemic. We intend to make use of this time, and we shall.
I am glad that we had the opportunity today to demonstrate the Stockholm Initiative’s growing engagement to the president-designate of the Review Conference, Gustavo Zlauvinen. Only by combining our strength and building mutual trust can we make progress towards global zero – a world free of nuclear weapons.
Sweden created the Stockholm Initiative in June 2019. It has 14 other members alongside Germany and Sweden itself. Foreign Minister Maas held a follow-up conference in February, where the members adopted 22 practical proposals, or “stepping stones”, to advance the cause of nuclear disarmament. Today’s video conference was joined by 16 Stockholm Initiative members and Gustavo Zlauvinen, president-designate of the NPT Review Conference. Jordan has already agreed to host the ministerial meeting in 2021.