Germany, Spain and Sweden call for reduction of nuclear arsenal

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Ahead of a meeting in Madrid on nuclear disarmament on Monday, the foreign ministers of Germany, Spain and Sweden called on all nuclear powers to significantly reduce their arsenal.

“This could include downgrading the role of nuclear weapons in strategies and doctrines, reducing the risk of conflict and an accidental nuclear weapon deployment, further reducing nuclear stockpiles and the laying the foundations for a new generation of arms control agreements,” Germany’s Heiko Maas, Spain’s Arancha Gonzalez Laya and Sweden’s Ann Linde wrote in the Rheinische Post newspaper on Monday.

“We must end nuclear weapons testing once and for all by finally bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force, restarting negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for military use and building robust and credible capabilities to verify nuclear disarmament steps,” they said.

A meeting is taking place on Monday under the Stockholm Initiative, which brings together 16 countries pushing to advance nuclear arms reductions worldwide.

US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in mid-June renewed hopes for progress.

The world’s two largest nuclear powers had agreed to talks on nuclear disarmament.

The Stockholm-based peace institute SIPRI released a report in mid-June with findings that there was an overall decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in 2020, but more were deployed with operational forces.

The nine nuclear-armed states had an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons between them at the start of 2021 – down from 13,400.

But an estimated 3,825 were deployed with operational forces – up from 3,720 the previous year. Nearly all of the 2,000 kept in a state of high operational alert belonged to Russia or the US.

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