General Statement of Germany in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly (Disarmament and International Security), 5 October 2023

05.10.2023 - Speech

The statement was delivered by Ambassador Thomas Göbel.

Chair, distinguished colleagues,

50 years ago, Germany joined the United Nations.

As Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in his speech before the UNGA a few weeks ago, the accession of the then two German states was accompanied by commitments to resolve conflicts without force, renounce any form of revisionism and engage in cooperation beyond dividing factors.

That is why, after its reunification in 1990, Germany has been very actively engaged

  • for multilateralism and a world governed by international law and the UN Charter.
  • for a world in which shared principles and norms guide relations between sovereign nations.
  • and for a disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation architecture that makes us more secure.

All this has come under huge strain because of Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine which has violated the most fundamental principles of the UN Charter and international law, undermined the arms control and non-proliferation architecture that had helped to foster security and completely disenfranchised the concept of trust and confidence-building of past decades.

Russia has irresponsibly employed nuclear threats, it has jeopardized nuclear security by occupying and militarizing Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. Russia has weakened nuclear arms control by suspending New START and withdrawing from the CFE treaty and blocked consensus in a number of key non-proliferation and arms control fora, such as the NPT, OPCW and the OEWG on responsible behaviors in outer space. Russia’s persistent use of unsubstantiated claims that Ukraine is using or is preparing to use chemical agents constitutes an abuse of the Chemical Weapons Convention. In addition, Russia has engaged in a disinformation campaign targeting biological threat reduction measures. On top of this, Russia works against inclusivity by preventing the consensus on observer states attending the Conference on Disarmament or by blocking increased participation of non-governmental organisations in the NPT Review Cycle.

In a situation like this, it becomes very obvious: peaceful international relations, multilateralism and international security can only be guaranteed if every country abides by the rules and principles of international law and the UN charter. This includes respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the political independence of all countries. International relations cannot be guided by brute force or the law of the strongest.

This is why, complementing necessary deterrence and defense, we remain committed to push for progress on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation despite Russia turning its back from major arms control agreements.

Germany will not stop to strive to build bridges across the present divides.

Together with many partners, we will continue to advocate for concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament in the Stockholm Initiative and the NPDI. We will urge for FMCT negotiations and entry into force of the CTBT, despite the odds. Germany also wants to engage in dialogue and co-operation on victims´ assistance and environmental remediation from the long-term damages of nuclear testing. We will continue to work with our partners to make sure that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. Strengthening nuclear non-proliferation is an important contribution to nuclear disarmament and vice versa.

We remain strongly committed to upholding the norm against the use of chemical weapons and to fight their re-emergence.

We are committed to strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in order to address persisting and newly emerging threats, stemming from both state and non-state actors.


By making progress on humanitarian arms control we can protect the lives of millions. Anti-personnel mines slash wounds bleeding for generations, to bodies and to souls. That is why Germany, as Presidency of the Ottawa Convention this year, will not cease to push for a world free of anti-personnel mines. Likewise, we continue to support and strengthen other conventional arms control instruments including CCM and the Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

Germany was also at the forefront of efforts to create a new global framework that will address existing gaps in through-life ammunition management. In this regard we count on your support for the resolution we are tabling together with France this year.

New technologies provide opportunities for our armed forces, but they also pose challenges for disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation: Currently these are areas with often insufficient rules, with a multitude of actors, with free availability and blurred boundary between civilian and military use.

Together we need to search for approaches to build more security. Germany is very actively engaged in the processes of creating norms, rules and principles of responsible behavior – including by supporting important initiatives and resolutions in this committee on Outer Space and LAWS.

It is especially in these areas that we have to be creative, seek cross-regional alliances and literally rethink arms control to improve international security.


In 2023, Germany has published guidelines for a Feminist Foreign Policy. We aim to strengthen the rights, resources and representation of women and marginalised groups in – among others - peace and security policy, which also includes our approach to arms control and disarmament.


In short: International peace and security can only exist in a world order that is based on international law, the UN Charter and the sovereign equality of all states.

Germany remains convinced that there can be no sustainable peace and security in the long term without arms control, disarmament and the preservation of the non-proliferation regime.

These are key pillars of an international order that we must today defend more staunchly than ever. We must protect them – so that they can protect us.

We are committed to working with our partners to achieve this goal.

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