General statement of Germany in the general debate of the UNGA77 1st Committee on October 7th, 2022.

07.10.2022 - Speech

The Statement was delivered by Thomas Göbel, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Germany to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva

Mr. Chair,

Germany fully aligns itself with the statement by the EU.

Excellencies, colleagues,

Like many other States, we are disappointed that the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was concluded without adopting a final outcome document.

After four weeks of constructive discussions and substantial progress on important aspects of the NPT, it was Russia who decided to veto a consensus outcome despite all other NPT Member States´ readiness to adopt the draft outcome. While this is the result on paper, we should not ignore the fact that all but one NPT member would have been ready to politically support the Final Document and we will therefore build on what was discussed in New York as we move towards the next Review Cycle and revisit our commitments to nuclear disarmament and arms control.

For over 50 years, the NPT has helped to preserve peace and to create a more stable global order. Especially in the current strategic and political circumstances, we need to reaffirm the commitments made under the treaty and make progress in their implementation.

Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine carries a profoundly disturbing global dimension. By pronouncing nuclear threats, spreading fake news in the area of biological and chemical weapons and by its confrontational behavior, Russia is undercutting or violating all relevant international agreements pertaining to weapons of mass destruction.

The nuclear threats, which Russia has to our great concern repeated just recently, also squarely contradict Russia’s commitment to the 3 January declaration by the leaders of all five Nuclear Weapon States which reaffirmed the central principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

The RevCon is now behind us, but the task ahead stays the same: we have to reduce the risk of nuclear escalation and see how we can open up the diplomatic space for new steps on nuclear and other arms control measures adjusted to the current security environment.

The security environment in Europe following Russia’s war of aggression has shrunk the space for bold initiatives. Instead, our task is to come up with concrete practical steps and Germany will continue to advance ideas jointly with her partners, especially on transparency, risk reduction or nuclear disarmament verification.

The renewal of New START in 2021 for a further five years was a positive development. We are encouraged that Russia and the United States, the states with the largest nuclear arsenals are committed to the full implementation of the New START Treaty and to pursuing a follow-up agreement.

26 years after the CTBT was opened for signature, the treaty has yet to enter into force. We renew our call on all states that have not yet signed and ratified the CTBT – in particular those listed under Annex II – to show leadership and do so without delay.

On FMCT we have been biding time for far too long. Differences on certain aspects must no longer serve as a pretext not to move forward. We support starting negotiations and call on all States to contribute to facilitating long-overdue negotiations on a FMCT.

Mr. Chair, Nuclear Weapon States and Non-Nuclear Weapon States can very effectively work together. Nuclear disarmament verification is a case in point. Germany and France have successfully conducted a 2nd exercise simulating the disman¬tlement of a nuclear warhead in 2022.

Mr. Chair,

we have to unite efforts to counter nuclear proliferation.

North Korea’s continuous development of its illegal nuclear weapons program and ballistic missiles arsenal remains a most serious -proliferation concern. The unprecedented series of missiles tests conducted this year are blatant violations of UN Security Council resolutions and must be met with unity and resolve. We urge the DPRK to establish dialogue and finally embark on a path towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

Mr. Chair, Germany remains fully committed to the implementation of UNSCR 2231. We strongly urge Iran to reverse all nuclear activities inconsistent with the JCPoA. Iran is obliged by law to clarify and resolve the open NPT safeguards issues.

The IAEA safeguards system is a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements along with the Additional Protocol constitute the current IAEA verification standard and we strongly support its universalisation.

Excellencies, colleagues,

This year the Chemical Weapons Convention celebrated its 25th anniversary. We are seriously concerned that the universally accepted global ban of chemical weapons is under increasing pressure.

The use of chemical weapons in Syria as well as the use of internationally banned nerved agents in the cases of Mr Skripal and Mr Navalny are flagrant violations of international law. We applaud the sustained efforts by the OPCW to investigate the use of chemical weapons and to fight impunity. We call on Syria to fully comply with its obligations under the CWC, and likewise on Russia to come clear on the case of Mr Navalny.

We condemn the unsubstantiated claims from the Russian Federation that Ukraine is using or is preparing to use chemical agents. We express our deep concern that these accusations are not only an attempt to justify Russia’s war of aggression, but may precede the use of chemical weapons by those who are making the claims.

Mr. Chair,

The German Presidency of the G7 led Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction has put an emphasis on biological security. We are pleased to host a Global Partnership Conference on Current Biosecurity Challenges on 7 October in Berlin.

The international community must renew its efforts to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

We condemn in the strongest terms the disinformation campaign by the Russian Federation targeted at cooperation among States parties in compliance with Article X of the BWC.

We highlight the importance of the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism (UNSGM) for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons and underscore the need to properly resource, equip and operationalise it.

Mr. Chair,

Emerging and Disruptive Technologies (EDT) such as artificial intelligence, autonomy, big data, and quantum computing impact the international security every day. On the one hand they create new opportunities: for arms control by enhancing verification and making their tools more efficient, but also for our armed forces. At the same time, the use of EDT pose challenges to the existing political, ethical, legal and operational framework and can increase the risk of miscalculation and inadvertent escalation. To address these challenges Germany believes that developing norms, rules and principles of responsible use and responsible behaviors, contributes to preventing escalation and building transparency and confidence among States. That is why we support this approach for example in the realms of cyber and space.

Mr. Chair,

Germany remains strongly committed to the peaceful use of outer space and welcomes the establishment of an Open-ended Working Group on reducing space threats through norms of responsible behaviours as a new important process. One of the most harmful behaviours in outer space is the destructive testing of direct-ascent anti-satellite missiles because it leads to the creation of space debris and increases risks of miscalculation and unintended escalation. Germany committed itself not to conduct such testing and calls on all States to support the according UNGA-resolution proposed by the United States.

Mr. Chair,

Malicious cyber activities represent an increasing threat to peace and stability in cyberspace. Over the last months, the world has witnessed how Russia is waging a series of cyberattacks alongside the physical war of aggression against Ukraine, thereby committing a flagrant breach of international law and the UN framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

While being actively engaged within the UN OEWG (2021-2025) discussions, Germany as a co-sponsor of the Programme of Action (PoA) supports ongoing discussions about the establishment of a PoA as an inclusive, action-oriented and permanent UN forum after 2025.

Mr. Chair,

Germany remains gravely concerned by the serious threats to international peace and security through the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. Last year, Germany funded support for SALW-related projects with 24 Mio. EUR. We see regional roadmaps as effective tools to contain the uncontrolled flow of SALW.

Germany is honored to chair the Open Ended Working Group on Conventional Ammunition established to elaborate a new global framework addressing existing gaps in through-life ammunition management. We thank delegations for the very constructive working atmosphere so far.

Germany welcomes the finalization of the EWIPA Political Declaration and is committed to actively engage in the follow-up process. We call upon all States to sign this political declaration and actively engage in the follow-up process to mitigate the humanitarian consequences arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas. We remain staunch supporters of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the Convention against Cluster Munitions. In 2021, Germany has allocated 55 Million EUR for Mine Action and Victim Assistance.

We strongly call for an outcome of the Meeting of the CCW High Contracting Parties in mid-November that enables the Group of Governmental Experts to intensify its work on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems.

Mr Chair, the 8th Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty has successfully taken place recently under German presidency. We believe that this is an effective tool and confidence-building measure to fight illicit trade in conventional arms and to prevent their diversion.

Excellencies, colleagues,

The past year has shaken the international arms control architecture in many ways and swept away confidence. As we continue to deal with the effects of the war on Ukraine we must be clear that ultimately disarmament and arms control, as a complement to the current focus on defence, are more needed than ever to open up ways out of the escalation and back to peace. Arms control in the 21st century will always be gauged against the question of how it contributes to our common security. We must therefore work with a greater sense of realism, but also come up with new instruments, include new and emerging technologies and focus on new verification mechanisms adapted to the reality. We must not sit back. On the contrary, we must see the current crisis as a call to intensify our work.

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