German Bundestag Resolution on the CWC Review Conference

On April 9 the German Bundestag passed a resolution on the CWC review conference. Both the governing Christian Democrat and Social Democrat parties, and the opposition Liberal Party voted for the resolution, while the Green Party abstained and the Socialists voted against it.

Here is a link to the original German resolution, as well as a rough English translation kindly provided by Oliver Meier of the Arms Control Association. According to Oliver there was also a short debate on the CWC where speakers which praised its progress in universality, weapons destruction and verification. They also highlighted the importance of German G8 contributions to speed up the weapons stockpile destruction process in Russia. A German transcript of the debate is available here or online. However Oliver also provided (in English) a list of his personal highlights from the debate:

“Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg, arms control spokesperson for the Conservatives highlighted the fact that some non-signatories such as Angola, Somalia and Egypt are among the top recipients of German development aid. Von Guttenberg called upon the German government, particularly in the cases of Egypt and Syria, to increase emphasis of the importance of joining the CWC. He said this might be helpful to reduce Israeli threat perception and convince Tel Aviv to ratify the CWC.”

“Uta Zapf, chair of the Bundestag’s subcommittee on disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation, warned that against the background of peace-keeping operations, insurgencies and counter-terrorism operations, the temptation to develop new incapacitants is great. She said that the review conference must address this “hot topic” and define the CWC prohibitions in terms of which agents may be used under what cirumstances. This was echoed by Elke Hoff, arms control spokesperson of the Liberal Party who also emphasized the importance of national implementation measures.”

“By contrast, Paul Schaefer, Social spokesperson for arms control, accused the German government of wanting to legitimise non-lethal weapons and called the resolution ambivalent. Winfried Nachtwei of the Green Party highlighted the fact that were the CWC approach applied to nuclear weapons, we would have a nuclear-weapons free world by 2020. Nachtwei also called on the German government to be more transparent about its own research on non-lethal weapons and urged the government to deal with the problem of old CW dumped in the Baltic Sea.”

It is interesting to note that the resolution specifically mentions the use of non-lethal or incapacitating agents under the CWC and Oliver’s highlights show that the debate included mention of this topic as well. It seems that the Second Review Conference will not deal explicitly with this issue, but hopefully will set procedures in motion that will allow for an in depth look at incapacitants so that their use under the CWC can be clarified.

Thanks for the information on this Oliver!