An appeal by IPPNW and IALANA

Diplomacy instead of preparation for war

Peacefully resolve the heated conflict over Ukraine!

In the current dangerous conflict between NATO and Russia, we call on the German government to actively contribute to stopping the escalation and seeking a peaceful solution. All existing mutual obligations under international law are to be used to achieve mutual security. Lasting security cannot be achieved against each other, but only with each other.

Although the troop concentration looks threatening, Russia avowedly does not want war but a treaty that ensures its security and has presented two detailed drafts to that end, though they are largely unknown to the public. Some of the proposals contain far-reaching maximum demands and bargaining chips for a new European security concept. Other proposals in the draft treaties for mutual security guarantees between Russia and NATO and between Russia and the United States are capable of agreement, e.g., for the establishment of telephone hotlines, for mutual briefings on military exercises and maneuvers and the respective military doctrines (Art. 2, draft NATO-Russia treaty), or the proposal for a ban on the stationing of land-based medium- and short-range missiles in areas that make it possible to reach the territory of the other parties (Art. 5). Others are aimed at ending nuclear sharing and withdrawing U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe (Article 7 of the treaty with the United States). Article 1 states that “The Parties shall be guided in their relations by the principles of cooperation, equal and indivisible security. They will not strengthen their security (….) at the expense of the security of the other Parties.”

The German government has a special legal obligation to Russia: On November 9, 1990, Kohl and Gorbachev concluded a “Treaty on Good Neighborliness, Partnership and Cooperation,” which is still in force unchanged. Art. 7 reads: “If a situation arises which, in the opinion of either side, constitutes a threat to or breach of the peace or may give rise to dangerous international entanglements, both sides will immediately communicate with each other and endeavor to coordinate their positions and reach agreement on measures likely to improve or manage the situation.” We call on the German government to intensify its talks in line with these commitments.

Important obligations under international law to be complied with for the resolution of the current conflict arise in particular from the principles of the UN Charter on the peaceful settlement of disputes (Art. 2 para. 3) and on the prohibition of the use of force (Art. 2 para. 4). They also follow from the NATO-Russia Founding Act of May 27, 1997. Accordingly, the permanent stationing of substantial combat forces in the new NATO countries in central and eastern Europe is subject to restrictions imposed by international treaties. The seamless rotation of NATO troops along NATO’s eastern border now being practiced undermines obligations under the agreement. Demands by the new NATO countries that NATO should disregard this must be resisted. Russia rightly recalls the formulation in the final report of the 1999 OSCE Summit in Istanbul that each participating State will respect the rights of all other States when changing its security structures and will not consolidate its security at the expense of the security of other States. NATO countries reaffirmed this commitment at the OSCE Summit in Astana in December 2010.

We call on the Federal Government to conduct the upcoming negotiations with respect and in recognition of mutual security interests and in compliance with existing security systems. It should be borne in mind that since 1990 Russia has increasingly seen its security on its western border threatened by NATO. Although the renunciation of NATO’s eastward expansion has not been agreed in a binding way under international law, it has been the subject of repeated talks and negotiations with representatives of the Russian government.

We call on the federal government to negotiate within the following framework:

  • intensified efforts to enforce the Minsk II cease-fire agreement and to prevent the parties from militarily ending territorial disputes regarding Crimea and the Donbass.
  • Activate all remaining channels of discussion between Russia and NATO to find a peaceful solution that recognizes both Western and Russian security concerns.
  • Halt all measures that currently promote military conflict. These include a halt to arms deliveries to Ukraine, an end to all troop concentrations on both sides of Ukraine’s eastern border, the establishment of a security area on both sides of Ukraine’s eastern border in which all troop movements of division strength or more (= 5,000) are reported to the other side in advance, and the refraining from maneuvers in this security area.
  • red phones, especially in the nuclear arena; no stationing of short- and medium-range missiles in Europe; and a mutual renunciation of the first use of nuclear weapons.
  • Negotiations within the framework of the OSCE on the Russian draft treaty aimed at a European security structure and a redefinition of the Russia-NATO relationship in the spirit of the previous mutual security agreements.
  • Promoting all forms of cultural exchange and personal contacts between the peoples of Russia and Germany, the vast majority of whom reject any war in Europe but want to live together peacefully.

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War/Physicians with Social Responsibility (IPPNW)
German Section of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA)

Initial signatories:

Franz Alt, journalist,
Gerhard Baisch, lawyer, board member of IALANA; Dr. Bernd Asbrock, retired judge; Dr. Till Bastian, publicist; Prof. Dr. Helga Baumgarten, political scientist; Ralf Becker, coordinator of the initiative “Rethinking Security”; Peter Brandt, historian and publicist; Reiner Braun, International Peace Bureau; Dr. med. Angelika Claußen, IPPNW chairwoman; Daniela Dahn, writer, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Däubler; Ina Darmstädter, board of Friedensfestival Berlin e.V.; Prof. Dr. Jost Eschenburg, pax christi, diocese of Augsburg; Annegret Falter, IALANA advisory board member; Ulrich Frey, member of the board of Martin Niemöller-Stiftung e.V.; Dr. Heiner Fechner, board members of IALANA, VDJ and EJDM; Prof. Dr. i. R. Albert Fuchs, Dr. Rolf Gössner, jurist and publicist; Dr. Peter Gerlinghof, Initiative Erinnern und Gedenken Sangerhausen; Prof. Dr. Ulrich Gottstein, IPPNW honorary board member; Dr. Ulrike Guérot, Prof. Europapolitik; Bernd Hahnfeld, IALANA, Gert Heidenreich, writer and former PEN chairman West, Gisela Heidenreich, book author, Prof. Dr. i.R. Helwart Hierdeis, educationalist; Uwe-Karsten Heye, journalist, diplomat and author, Otto Jäckel, lawyer, chairman of IALANA e.V.; Prof. Dr.-Ing. Nasser Kanani, engineer and natural scientist; Michael Karg, retired provost, chairman of the Martin Niemöller Foundation e.V., Joachim Kerth-Zelter, lawyer, federal chairman of the Association of Democratic Lawyers; Gerold König, Pax christi Bundesvorsitzender; Dr. Elke Koller, Internationaler Versöhnungsbund; Karl-Wilhelm Lange, Regierungspräsident i.R.; Prof. Mohssen Massarrat, wiss. Advisory Board of IPPNW; Michael Müller, Federal Chairman of the Naturefriends of Germany and Parl. State Secretary (ret.); Herbert Nebel, Member of the Board of the International Liega for Human Rights; Prof. Dr. Götz Neuneck, German Pugwash Commissioner of the Association of German Scientists; Prof. Dr. Frank Nonnenmacher; Prof. Dr. Norman Paech, international law expert; Florian D. Pfaff, Major a.D., Spokesman of the “Darmstädter Signal” working group; Matthias Platzeck, Chairman of the German-Russian Forum; Dr. med. Lars Pohlmeier, IPPNW Chairman, Rüdiger Postier, retired Federal Administrative Court Judge; Konrad Raiser, theologian, ex. General Secretary of the World Council of Churches; Rainer Rehak, Deputy. Chairman of the Informatiker*innen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung e.V. (FifF), Clemens Ronnefeldt, Peace Affairs Officer at the German branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation; Pamela Rosenberg, former Intendant of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scheffran, physicist and geographer; Thomas Schmidt, Co-Secretary General EJDM European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights in the World e.V.; Prof. em. Dr. Dr.h.c. Dieter Senghaas, peace, conflict and development researcher; Amela Skiljan, Vice Chair IALANA, Prof. Dr. i.R. Gert Sommer, Prof. for Clinical Psychology and Conflict Research, Dr.h.c. Graf Sponeck, Assistant Secretary General of the UN (ret.); Tommy Spree, director of the Anti-War Museum Berlin; Prof. Johano Strasser, political scientist and writer, ex. President of the PEN Center Germany; Antje Vollmer, former Vice President of the Bundestag, Peter Vonnahme, Judge at the Bayer. Administrative Court (ret.), member of IALANA; Prof. Dr. Herbert Wulf, Burkhard Zimmermann “Initiative Neue Entspannungspolitik jetzt!”, Andreas Zumach, journalist