Before departing on his trip to Stockholm, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (11 June):
Disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are embroiled in crisis. This poses a threat to world peace. We need to produce something to counter the negative trend. It is good that many states who want to uphold and strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are meeting in Stockholm today. The NPT has been the cornerstone of the nuclear order for fifty years. Without it, many more states would have nuclear weapons today.
But the Treaty is experiencing a serious crisis. The nuclear-weapon states need to do more to shoulder their responsibility for further disarmament steps. At the same time, we need to prevent other states acquiring nuclear weapons.
Next year sees the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We need a clear game plan to ensure the Conference strengthens the non-proliferation architecture.
At the invitation of the Swedish Foreign Minister, representatives from 16 countries are coming to Stockholm for the ministerial meeting on 11 June 2019 (Argentina, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland). They will exchange views on nuclear disarmament issues. Next year’s NPT Review Conference is an important milestone. With its three pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use, the NPT is the lifeblood of the nuclear arms control architecture. Germany will continue to work with great commitment at international level to strengthen this set of rules.
The countries at the conference are non-nuclear weapon states who share the goal of a world without nuclear weapons but pursue different approaches. One group of states, for example, advocates an immediate ban on nuclear weapons. Conversely, Germany, like all NATO member states and many other partners, takes a pragmatic approach. The aim of nuclear disarmament only seems realistic if pursued step by step and with the nuclear-weapon states on board.