Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticized Britain’s plans to expand its nuclear arsenal in an exclusive interview with DW on Thursday.
“We do not want to develop a nuclear arsenal. If you don’t want to, you can’t expand it, ”Maas said when he sat down with Richard Walker, the international editor of DW in Berlin.
DW then asked the Foreign Secretary what he thought of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Tuesday that his administration would increase the number of maximum trident warheads in nuclear storage facilities in Britain to more than 30 years.
Maas responded to the federal government: “You see, there is already too much nuclear war in the world, not too little. Therefore, we do not want the nuclear arsenal to grow.
“The past has shown that when one side has more nuclear weapons, the other side will try to capture it. This is a devastating arms race, which we have seen for decades.
The UK is deploying its Trishul missiles on four submarines, one of which is floating in the sea to maintain counter-strike capability in the event of a sustained nuclear attack. The decision would increase the number of missiles in the UK’s nuclear supply by more than 40% – from 180 to 260 warheads.
According to Mass, binding international treaties are the main
When asked directly whether he thought the UK decision was a mistake, Maas reiterated that Germany wanted to reduce its arsenal, to which he replied, “If you want, you don’t expand it Can.”
Emphasizing the importance of international treaties in this regard, Maas stated that people should be able to rely on them to limit arsenals and prevent their expansion.
However, he conceded that such a situation would only work if all parties would abide by the rules.
Without international rules, he said: “We will always see that individual states feel they have new weapons systems to maintain detention. Unfortunately, this is the situation we are in right now. “
The United States uses “explicit language” with Russia
Maas was also asked about recent statements by US President Joe Biden, suggesting that Biden believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “murderer”.
He declined to comment on this particular comment, but noted that “there is very clear language about Russian activities in the United States, for example in Syria, but about influencing elections in third countries”.
The German diplomat emphasized the practicality associated with this direct approach: “I think it is an important indicator that US foreign policy is clear regarding human rights and freedoms on the one hand, but to be able to retain them to open the window” Wants to negotiate with Moscow when it comes to issues. Big challenges like disarmament and climate change. “
Annex of Crimea “clear violation of international law”
Speaking from Ukraine exactly seven years after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Maas said the law was “a clear violation of international law” and said the position of Germany and many of its allies should be reversed. He said: “This is not a problem that can be solved militarily, but we will further clarify this expectation towards Russia.”
He said that Russia may be interested in normalizing relations with Europe as it is now excluded from the G7. An important step in improving relations is to “find a solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine”.
Asked if he really believed that Crimea would become part of Ukraine again, Maas said: “This is our position. I realize this can be a very difficult path.”
Lukashenko “Strung on our democratic values”
Maas also discussed sanctions imposed on Belarus by the European Union after last year’s highly competitive elections and protests by opposition and politicians. Although the European Union had difficulties in reacting as individual states, such as the United States, in imposing sanctions, Massa pleaded for action at the European level, not unilaterally.
“We also have to ensure that sanctions in such situations affect the right people and not civilized society.” “Therefore, we have to consider the economic consequences of such steps. Therefore, in the case of Belarus, we decided to target those responsible. not only. [President Alexander] Lukashenko, but all their equipment. ”
When asked how he saw the man, often referred to as the “last dictator in Europe”, Maas said: “He comes to power in dictatorial ways and puts our democratic values at his feet.” Treads. “
DW’s Richard Walker contributed to this report.