On the occasion of yesterday’s ministerial meeting on the Stockholm Initiative, co-chaired by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Xanthe Hall, Disarmament Officer of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, comments:
“The ministers of the so-called Stockholm Initiative emphasise that they are committed to a results-oriented Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) in January. But without even factually acknowledging that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) exists, there will be no meaningful outcome to the NPT RevCon. The nuclear-weapon-free states have a need for security and do not want to be threatened with nuclear weapons by nine states – only five of which are members of the NPT.
The joint statement of the Stockholm Initiative makes no mention of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The “nuclear ban treaty” is an initiative of 122 nuclear-weapon-free states, which entered into force in January this year. 57 states have already joined, 86 have signed. According to the coalition agreement, Germany will participate in the first conference of states of the TPNW from 22 to 23 March in Vienna.
Yesterday, before her trip to Stockholm, Annalena Baerbock spoke of the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. At the same time, she maintains the “obligation” to nuclear sharing as a NATO state. This task means that Germany must take part in a new arms build-up to replace aging nuclear weapons and delivery systems. New US nuclear bombs have gone into serial production for these purposes, as stated by the US agency NNSA. By 2025, these nuclear weapons are to be stationed in Europe. In order to deploy the new bombs, Germany is to buy new nuclear bombers. The cost of procurement: about 8 billion euros. This is also in the coalition agreement.
It seems that Annalena Baerbock sees no contradiction between the goal of a nuclear-free world and this planned nuclear armament. Adherence to nuclear deterrence means accepting the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of their use. The willingness to continue to deploy nuclear weapons in Germany also implies the willingness to expose millions of people to unparalleled humanitarian suffering. Is Annalena Baerbock prepared to bear this responsibility?
As International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, we demand a “realistic” view of the relationship between a nuclear arms race and the unwillingness of nuclear weapon states to disarm. You don’t ask a smoker to stop smoking by smoking yourself. There’s no logic to that. As a medical peace organisation, we therefore appeal to the federal government to stop this arms build-up and not to procure new nuclear bombers. Instead, it should invest the millions saved in climate protection.
The IPPNW is sending a delegation to Vienna from 20 to 25 March and will organise actions during the TPNW Conference of States and carry out media work.