KShortly before the United Nations ban on nuclear weapons came into force, the federal government again refused to join the treaty. In an answer to a request from the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the Federal Foreign Office affirmed that it considers the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which has existed for more than 50 years, to be the more effective instrument for taking concrete disarmament steps. The new contract results in a subordination of existing obligations. “From the point of view of the Federal Government, this can lead to a fragmentation and a real weakening of international disarmament efforts in the nuclear field”, states the State Secretary Antje Leendertse’s letter.
The Scientific Services of the Bundestag come to a different conclusion in an opinion commissioned by Left MP Sevim Dagdelen. The two contracts are “not legally contradicting each other,” it says. The legal “update” consists primarily in the fact that the nuclear weapons ban treaty “contains concrete disarmament obligations and delegitimizes the strategy of nuclear deterrence”. For Dagdelen, the main arguments of the federal government are refuted.
The UN treaty was adopted in 2017 by 122 of the 193 member states of the United Nations. It comes into force on Friday because more than 50 states have ratified it. However, the treaty is rejected by all nuclear powers and all NATO states, including Germany. It remains ineffective, at least as far as concrete disarmament steps are concerned.
Incomprehension at the United Nations
The harsh rejection of the new treaty is also followed with incomprehension at the United Nations in New York. “States that do not intend to accede to the treaty should respect the justified fears and all efforts made in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament,” urges the spokesman for UN Secretary General António Guterres, Stéphane Dujarric, also in the direction of NATO. States.
All countries would have to take a path with a common vision for nuclear disarmament again. And this is exactly where the observer status in the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty could also play an important role for Germany and other countries: This would enable skeptical countries to “express their reservations and enter into a dialogue with the states party to the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty,” says Dujarric.
Observer status means that you take part in the Conference of the Parties but have no voting rights. However, the observers also have to help finance the conference, which is expected to take place in about a year. According to the UN, only Switzerland and Sweden have so far expressed interest in participating as observers.
Greens hope for Biden
The Greens, too, have repeatedly called for Germany to join the treaty. Last week they introduced a motion to the Bundestag to do this. Baerbock said every step towards the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world strengthens security. “We have to get out of the spiral of more and more nuclear weapons.”
After the swearing-in of the new American President Joe Biden, the Greens are hoping for a new start in global disarmament efforts. “With the new American administration there is finally hope that things can go ahead,” said party leader Annalena Baerbock of the German press agency. The federal government should also play a full role in cooperation with the EU. “The entry into force of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty must be a clear signal for this, also for Germany.”
Washington calls for Iran to return to the nuclear deal
The new American administration has meanwhile commented on the nuclear deal with Iran. The country must return to the restrictions on the 2015 nuclear deal. This is the basis for a relationship with Washington, said new President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Wednesday. It left open whether and under what circumstances the United States could rejoin the treaty after it withdrew in 2018. Biden’s first telephone calls with allies will certainly also be about containing the Iranian nuclear program, said Psaki.
The UN veto powers United States, China, Russia, France and Great Britain as well as Germany and Iran agreed in 2015 in Vienna on the agreement that allows Tehran the peaceful use of nuclear power, but denies the development of nuclear weapons. It put the Iranian nuclear industry under control and promised to dismantle Western economic sanctions. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had resigned from the treaty and launched a “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran.
Iran recently announced that it would increase its uranium enrichment to 20 percent and thus raised concerns. President Hassan Rohani also wants to stop the pressure on Biden to return to the United States’ obligations under the agreement. Diplomats at the United Nations in New York think it is possible that the United States will push for a renegotiation of the nuclear deal.