Statement on Nuclear Disarmament by Ambassador Michael Biontino, Permanent Representative of Germany to the Conference on Disarmament
Germany fully aligns itself with the statements delivered by the NPDI and the BLM.
Germany is fully committed to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. We are convinced that nuclear disarmament contributes essentially to our security and can best be reached on the basis of a pragmatic step-by-step approach which must take into account the prevailing security environment and engages with the NWS. In order to make this approach work, we need favourable conditions. Germany is actively and consistently supporting various efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
By far the most troubling development recently has been the acceleration of North Korea’s illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. The DPRK case highlights various lessons: One lesson is that we need to redouble our efforts when it comes to strengthening the NPT in its three equally important pillars. Germany is convinced that the NPT is and should remain the cornerstone of all efforts in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. That is what we are working for in the “Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative” (NPDI). Foreign Minister Gabriel, together with Japanese Foreign Minister Kono, just co-hosted an NPDI Ministerial meeting in New York in September where NPDI confirmed its core mandate to continue to strengthen the NPT based on the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan.
The 2010 Action Plan outlines many of the steps paving the way towards nuclear disarmament, including the pledge by the nuclear weapon states to undertake additional efforts to nuclear disarmament. In this respect, we welcome the fact that the United States and Russia met in Helsinki on 11 to 13 September to resume their strategic stability talks, including on pertinent arms control issues and further steps in the area of nuclear disarmament and their readiness to meet again this year. We would be in favour of an extension of the New START-Treaty which up to now has successfully implemented nuclear arms reductions agreed between the US and Russia.
Referring once again to the alarming case of DPRK which is the only country which is still engaged in nuclear testing in the 21st century underlines the relevance and importance of CTBT’s early entry into force. All states not yet party should quickly sign and/or ratify the CTBT and thus join the international community’s resolve to end nuclear testing. While the existing moratorium on nuclear-weapon test explosions and any other nuclear explosions is of course important, we think it is not sufficient. [We also commend the existence of the CTBTO and the International Monitoring System. In this respect, it is important that IMS stations are functioning, that missing stations have to be established and certified and that adequate resources for IMS are secured. ]
Likewise, an FMCT would be a logical next step on the multilateral nuclear disarmament agenda. That is why Germany, together with Canada and the Netherlands, co-sponsored a General Assembly resolution launching a new process of diplomatic efforts towards an FMCT last year. A high-level preparatory group started its work in July and has injected new momentum into a process which should hopefully pave the way for early negotiations on an FMCT.
Nuclear disarmament can only happen if the security context is favourable and not characterized by lack of trust and transparency: To address the fundamental underlying questions of trust/mistrust, strengthening negative security assurances by the NWS to the NNWS can play an important role and their value and relevance should be further explored.
Another key to progress in nuclear disarmament is the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament and Verification (IPNDV), which focuses on the development of technical measures for the verification of nuclear disarmament. “Phase I” of this process will terminate at the end of this year and participants agreed on the necessity to carry this work further. Germany would like to contribute to this important process by focusing on practical measures and strongly supports Norway’s initiative which aims at establishing a GGE on these issues
Finally, turning to the third pillar of the NPT, the peaceful use of nuclear energy must rest on the highest possible levels of nuclear safety and nuclear security. Nuclear security is in the interest of us all as it aims at the protection against the use of nuclear materials by terrorists and unauthorized non-state actors. We must be aware that nuclear threats do not stop at our borders. In particular, maintaining cyber security and the security of radioactive sources in civilian use continue to be a challenge for years to come – not only for my own country.
It took us more than 10 years to find and negotiate a diplomatic solution fully addressing the many concerns about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. The JCPoA finally agreed between the E3/EU+3 and Iran in 2015 has put an end to an imminent nuclear proliferation crisis and further strengthened the NPT. At this delicate moment we emphasize that strict implementation of the JCPoA by all sides remains key and that all decision-makers should refrain from any action that might potentially jeopardize the JCPoA. Let us not put at risk the important progress for non-proliferation generated by the JCPoA. Thank you Mr. Chairman.