Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in the Frauenkirche Dresden - Ahmet Üzümcü - 01/02/2016

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They are builders of peace: Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. Thus, the rebuilt Frauenkirche in Dresden invites them to share their experiences working towards world peace taking part in a lecture series. In 2016, the Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Üzümcü, presented his ideas on the question "What must we do today to make the world more peaceful in twenty years’ time?" This publication records the speech and other accompanying events such as a schools competition.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

in the Frauenkirche Dresden

1 February 2016




05 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in the Frauenkirche

Reverend Sebastian Feydt

06 Greeting

Bishop Dr. Carsten Rentzing of the Saxon Regional Lutheran Church

07 Welcome Speech

Saxon deputy premier Martin Dulig

09 Lecture by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate:

“Re-Arming Our Humanity: Contributions of Disarmament to Peace

Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü

18 “Taking the Message Further”

The “Students meet Nobel Peace Prize Laureates” peace competition

24 The Winning Entries for the Schools Competition

26 Saxon Students at the OPCW Day in The Hague

28 “There is Reason to Believe that the ‘Islamic State’ is Making its Own Mustard Gas”

Dr Rainer Hermann (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) talked to Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü

30 Additional Incentives to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate‘s Lecture

Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp

33 Ahmet Üzümcü – Biography



Nobel Peace Prize

Laureates in the



Peace. That single word is the one most quoted whenever

people around the world are asked what they believe is the

most important thing in life. Yet the rift between peaceful

regions and those shaken by war and civil war is growing

ever deeper. While fifteen European countries were among

the world‘s twenty most peaceful last year, the suffering and

despair of those affected by war in other regions can only be

relieved if peace is created – founded – in those people‘s countries,

giving them a life worth living once again.

That is how peacemakers throughout history have understood

the issue. Men such as St. Francis of Assisi or Mahatma Gandhi,

women such as Bertha von Suttner. Alfred Nobel took the

idea of “founding” peace literally and set up the eponymous

Peace Prize in his will. The Nobel Peace Prize honours those

who play a crucial, lasting role in encouraging the peoples of

this world to understand one another, and those who promote

peace forums.

A good one hundred years ago, there was plenty of reason

to promote peace. In 1915, at the height of the First World

War, chemical weapons were used on a large scale for the first

time. The Hague Convention on War on Land did not prevent

the use of poisons. The effects were alarming, and the efforts

made by the Commonwealth of Nations to contain the threat

soon took specific shape. Yet even until now, and this is highly

current, chemical weapons warfare poses a real danger to the

world‘s population. It ignores territorial borders, creating an

urgent need for effective international agreements and bans.

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded by the world community to

the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

(OPCW) in 2013 was in appreciation of their extensive efforts

for the elimination of chemical weapons.

As part of the series of events involving Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

instigated by the Frauenkirche Foundation in Dresden,

the Director-General of the organisation, Ahmet Üzümcü,

visited the Frauenkirche on 1 February 2016. The particular

aim behind his public address at this rebuilt place of peace was

to discuss his commitment with the next generation of young

people and encourage them to play a part in bringing peace

to the world – exactly as the question headlining the series of

events asked: What must we do today to make the world more

peaceful in 20 years‘ time?

This publication pays tribute to the work of the OPCW and its

Director-General, documents his speech in the Frauenkirche

and publishes the hosts‘ responses and statements.

Sebastian Feydt

Reverend of the Frauenkirche



Director-General, Deputy Premier of Saxony, Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear students.

This is precisely what we are talking about. We are talking

about the message of peace being spread from one generation

to the next. I am pleased that tonight we are gathered

here between generations, to listen to this message and to

consider the mission that we have in our lives. In only a few

days the time has come yet again; we will remember in a special

way that here in Dresden on February 13th we are celebrating

a day of commemoration. This church is the very symbol

of that. But we do not stop at remembering and commemorating

alone. It also gives us strength to tackle the problems

of our times.

The terms such as “peace” and “reconciliation” do not remain

theoretical terms but are current challenges that reach into

our immediate environment and time. So it is a great pleasure

but an even greater honor to continue with you, Ambassador

Ahmet Ücümcü, in our series of lectures given by Nobel Peace

Price Laureates after 2010 and 2014. Your vision of a peaceful

world falls back on your experience that you have gathered

in your positions in the Geneva office of the United Nations,

the NATO Council or in the Disarmament Conference as well

as other international organizations. This tells us the meaning

that your current activities have for peace in this world. Your

position as Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition

of Chemical Weapons. Your position and your organization

do hard, seminal work that often happens behind the

scenes. This afternoon we had the opportunity to talk about

it. Your task consists in implementing the Chemical Weapons

Convention and monitoring the implementation. It is the only

convention with an international agreement that prohibits an

entire genre of weapons of mass destruction and monitors it

in an international way. You work with 192 member states.

You can look back on the fact that 91 per cent of all chemical

weapons stockpiled were destroyed. But you are not only looking

back. You are also casting a glance into the future. You

have a target. You have a vision for the next generation to

come. Be it current conflicts, where you follow up on a suspicion

that chemical weapons are being used or be it preventively,

in education. You understand yourself as an Ambassador

of Peace. Hence, it is in your sense that today we have invited

students to award the results of a competition in which they

examined the question of what a more peaceful world means

for them. The exchange with young people means inspiration

and pleasure for you. The very place where that happens, the

Frauenkirche here in Dresden, is a Christian church dedicated

to Christ, of whom it was once said that he was the Prince

of Peace. This is a message that we want to spread from this

place into the world. It is a message that will fill this evening.

As a Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Frauenkirche

Dresden Foundation I would like to welcome you specifically

to this house of worship.

We, I, are looking forward to your message of peace.

Dr. Carsten Rentzing

Regional Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Saxony

Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Frauenkirche Dresden



Welcome Speech

The Frauenkirche is a silent witness to what human beings are

capable of, both in terms of destruction and in terms of reconstruction,

in terms of war and in terms of peace. But in today‘s form,

this church is a symbol of hope. Hope that not weapons will have

the last word, but humanity. The fact that it could become this

important cannot be understood without its tragic destruction.

After the bombing of Dresden on February 13th, 1945, the church

remained undestroyed. But once it had cooled down, it collapsed

into itself. For decades the church was a heap of rubble as a memorial

against war, until in the 1980s young Protestants turned it

into a memorial for peace. “Swords to ploughshares” and “peace

without weapons” were the slogans that quickly spread. At the

same time, many Christians of both denominations were part of

the conciliatory process for peace, justice and the conservation of

Creation. This peace movement was part of the very opposition

in the GDR that started a peaceful revolution in the fall of 1989.

After an initial resort to violence by the ruling power, the slogan of

“no violence” spread and a peaceful transition was made possible.

The GDR got a minister of defence who called himself the “minister

of disarmament”. He was a priest and part of the peace movement.

Here in Saxony, close to Goerlitz, tanks of the GDR army

were scrapped under international monitoring. The Red Army

had removed secretly stationed nuclear warheads from Saxony

as early as 1988. They did so on the basis of the INF Treaty

on the Limitation of Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces. Nuclear

weapons did not disappear, but with the end of the Cold War

the fear disappeared that political conflicts could trigger a nuclear

war. Along with the GDR, the subject of military education

disappeared from schools. Some of you here may remember that

you were even taught how to use a gas mask. And that physical

exercise with gas masks was a part of the curriculum. Some people

may remember that, when riding the tram in Dresden and

seeing advertising for the Museum of Military History: You can

see a German trooper in a gray field uniform holding a gas mask

to his face and to his horse.

That feels like hundred years ago. When you look at that advertisement

you are happy that there is an international organization

today taking care that the world is freed of chemical weapons.

That Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was

awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 2013. The Nobel Foundation

was following the idea of disarmament laid out by its founder

Alfred Nobel. And it honored an organization whose activities

for world peace are so important and at the same time so dangerous

for its staff.

Mitigating crisis in a diplomatic manner is an essential part of

German foreign policy. The commitment to the destruction of

syrian chemical weapons showed that, as did the Vienna Convention

on the nuclear program in Iran or the efforts being

made in the framework of the London Donors‘ Conference for

Syria. Wherever possible, our goal is to contain violence and secure

peace with peaceful means. The former German chancellor,

the late Helmut Schmidt, once said that it‘s better to negotiate

100 hours in vain than to shoot for only one minute. Mr Üzümcü,

Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition

of Chemical Weapons, will talk about the Chemical Weapons

Convention as an important aspect of worldwide disarmament.

Excellence, I would like to welcome you here in our region once

again on behalf of the Saxon State Government. I would like

to thank you for accepting the invitation from our Premier and

I would like to send Premier Stanislaw Tillich‘s best regards.

Martin Dulig

Saxon Deputy Premier



Re-Arming Our Humanity:

Contributions of

Disarmament to Peace

Lecture given by

Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü

in the lecture series

Nobel Peace Prize Laureates‘ Lectures in the Frauenkirche Dresden

This is the audio transcript of the speech presented.


Bishop Dr Rentzing,

Deputy Premier Dulig,


Dear Students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I feel deeply honoured to speak to you today in this extraordinary

building. It stands as a reminder of the tragedy of war

but also as a monument to the human resolve for peace and


The title of this talk, “Re-arming our Humanity: Contributions

of Disarmament to Peace,” is a theme that concerns people of

goodwill everywhere.

Our civilization has to its credit many achievements. Science

and technology have brought countless benefits, improved

the quality of life and lifted millions of people across the world

out of poverty. Yet, many of these same achievements have

also created new possibilities for destroying ourselves and our

world. War, by its nature, is cruel. The tools of destruction that

are available today magnify the perils of warfare. What we normally

describe as weapons of mass destruction are weapons

whose effects cannot be confined to the battlefield. Their

threat is at once inhumane and indiscriminate. It is for this

reason that nations continue to strive to bring about conditions

that would either limit or eliminate the most dangerous

weapons ever created. It is important to remember this: We did

not reach the heights of our modern civilization by technology

alone. We were only able to do so because of our commitment

to shared norms and values such as equality, justice and

human dignity for all. One key lesson of recent history is that

progress in law and ethics must keep pace with advancements

in science and technology. Our survival depends on upholding

universal values as opposed to purely national interests. This

is the essence of the multilateralism that covers many diverse

endeavours, including disarmament. We live in a world that

is inter-connected and interdependent. The challenges of our

globalised world can be effectively met only through collective

efforts. The right of human beings to live in peace and security

is fundamental. The threat of mass destruction negates this

right. Disarmament seeks to re-establish this right as a moral

imperative. The elimination of chemical weapons should provide

hope and encouragement to international efforts relating

to weapons of mass destruction. Chemical weapons are today

totally banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention. And

multilateral cooperation, manifest in the work of the Organisation

for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, ensures that

the treaty functions effectively and to the benefit of each of

its Members.

* * *

Last April, I was at another historic building reconstructed

from the ruins of war – the medieval Cloth Hall in the Belgian

town of Ieper. A ceremony was held there to mark the passing

of one hundred years since the first large-scale use of chemical

weapons. It was a solemn event, honouring the memory of

countless victims of chemical warfare in World War I and other

conflicts across the globe. But it was also an auspicious occasion

on which we took stock of our remarkable endeavour to rid

the world of this terrible scourge.

Today, 91 per cent of the world’s declared chemical weapons

have been destroyed under international verification. This

amounts to more than 64,000 tonnes of the deadliest poisons

ever produced. As a result of these efforts, an entire class of

weapons of mass destruction is now at the threshold of being

completely eradicated. It is for this very tangible achievement

that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. The terrible suffering

of those who became victims of chemical warfare cannot

be forgotten. The best way to honour their memory is through

our determination to prevent such tragedies from occurring

in the future. We have shown how this determination can

stand as an example of what we can achieve when we work

together, which is in line with the OPCW motto, “Working

together for a world free of chemical weapons”.


Let me briefly describe to you the history and achievements of

chemical disarmament.

As the Holy Roman Empire, Germany was party to the very

first attempt to remove poison from the battlefield after

signing the Strasbourg Agreement with France in 1675. Other

attempts were later made by the 1874 Brussels Convention

and the 1899 Hague Convention. But the limited provisions

of The Hague Convention failed to prevent widespread use

of chemical weapons in World War I, prompting efforts to

develop a more binding instrument. This came in the form of

the 1925 Geneva Protocol.

Very soon thereafter, reservations submitted by several signatory

states compounded major shortcomings in the Protocol.

These relate to the fact that it only prohibited the use, but not

the possession of chemical weapons, and lacked a mechanism

for enforcement. This absence was tragically felt as chemical

weapons were used later in several conflicts throughout the

world. It was not until the late 1960s that the international

community was finally able to agree on advancing a more

comprehensive ban on chemical and biological weapons. The

Biological Weapons Convention was concluded in 1972, but it

took another twenty years for negotiators to agree on the text

of the Chemical Weapons Convention and on the terms of its

verification regime. The widespread use of chemical weapons

during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s propelled negotiations

towards a global ban. Only four years after the horrific attack

against civilians in Halabja, in Iraq, the Convention was concluded

in 1992.

As a result, a comprehensive ban not only against the use of

chemical weapons, but also against their possession, development,

production, stockpiling and transfer was achieved.

What is more, the Convention’s negotiators built in a stringent

international verification regime and laid the foundations for

an independent international agency to monitor compliance –

the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or


Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, the facts

speak for themselves. Our membership has grown rapidly to a

nearly universal figure of 192 countries. As I already mentioned,

91 per cent of declared chemical weapons have so far been

destroyed, with remaining stockpiles – in Russia and the United

States – due to be eliminated within the next seven years.

Five other countries that had declared possession of chemical

weapons stockpiles have already completed destruction, verified

by OPCW inspectors. This includes the elimination of the

Syrian chemical weapons programme. Iraq will soon destroy

the remnants of chemical weapons inherited from the previous

regime. And to ensure that chemical industry across the

globe is engaged in exclusively peaceful activities, the OPCW

has conducted inspections at more than 3,000 facilities in over

eighty countries – and continues to do so. We also work with

our Member States to monitor transfers of potentially dangerous

dual-use chemicals, to help ensure transparency about

their use. Finally, the OPCW and its Member States conduct

training and assistance activities to ensure full and effective

implementation of the Convention across the globe, with a

special focus on where needs are greatest. These activities

range widely – from assistance and protection against

chemical attacks or incidents, to promoting cooperation in

analytical chemistry, laboratory management and other

technical spheres.

* * *

The link between disarmament and peace has been firmly

established by the international community. The United

Nations Security Council has declared that the proliferation

of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery,

constitutes a threat to international peace and security. Over

the course of nearly two decades, the work of the OPCW has

progressed steadily towards the total elimination of an entire

class of weapons of mass destruction.

In this time we have had to deal with some extraordinary

challenges. When the OPCW embarked on the mission to



eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons programme in September

2013, many said it could not be done. Certainly, the technical,

logistical and security obstacles were enormous. But less

than a year later, some 1,300 tonnes of chemical weapons had

been accounted for, removed from Syrian territory, and largely

destroyed. This was achieved on the strength of an unprecedented

collective effort involving the United Nations and

more than thirty countries including Germany.

Yet, as successful as this mission was, many questions have

been raised as to what impact it has had on the conflict, as

well as more broadly on global peace and security. The first of

these is that the conflict continues to rage. More than 250,000

people are estimated to have perished over almost five years of

fighting – many of them since the last chemical weapons were

removed from Syria more than eighteen months ago. What is

more, chemical weapons have continued to be used in Syria.

The OPCW has substantiated allegations that toxic industrial

chemicals have been used as weapons in several incidents,

including one where sulphur mustard was used.

In what terms, then, can we speak of any peace and security

benefits from the mission to eliminate Syria’s chemical

weapons? You will all recall the tense international environment

in the second half of 2013. An investigation into allegations

of the use of chemical weapons in the Damascus

suburb of Ghouta in August had confirmed that the deadly

nerve agent sarin had been used, killing hundreds of civilians.

The world had then seemed on the brink of being involved in

another armed conflict in the Middle East only to be brought

back as a result of an agreement between the Russian Federation

and the United States of America. Signed in Geneva on

14 September 2013, this agreement provided for the elimination

of Syria’s chemical weapons programme, which was then

taken up by the OPCW-UN joint mission. While this mission

was never conceived as a solution for ending the civil war in

Syria, it dramatically reduced the tensions which could have

led to a major international conflict in the region, and perhaps

beyond. It must also be remembered that if all those dangerous

weapons and production capabilities had remained

intact, the conflict in Syria could have turned into an even

more appalling humanitarian crisis. With several terrorist

groups seeking to acquire such weapons, people in Syria and

the world are better off with those capabilities having been


Let me also add that a key advantage of all disarmament

treaties is the sense of security that they promote on a regional

basis. Syria’s accession to the CWC can only be welcomed

in a region long mired in conflict. While Syria’s chemical

demilitarization reflects a new security reality, it has not yet,

unfortunately, led Israel or Egypt to join the Chemical Weapons

Convention. But the fact that others have recently joined –

notably, Myanmar and Angola – provides impetus for reconsideration,

as well as intensifying efforts to achieve a zone

free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. The

diplomacy that has driven the Syrian mission has also helped

to propel fresh efforts to resolve the conflict by political means.

Worth recalling is that Syria’s chemical demilitarisation was,

after two and a half years of fighting, the only aspect of the

conflict which the international community could agree on.

And the momentum it generated went well beyond the narrow

scope of this mission. A continuing dialogue amongst

the key players helped to initiate the Geneva II process at the

beginning of 2014. While this process was ill-fated, it has had

an after-life. The UN Security Council recently adopted Resolution

2254, which calls for a ceasefire and outlines a process

for a political settlement. It can be argued that consultations

regarding chemical disarmament in Syria continued to offer

opportunities for broadening the consensus in the UN Security

Council. For it was in the disarmament mission that international

cooperation on Syria, involving both Russia and the United

States, first came into play. Similarly, in the ongoing efforts to

identify those responsible for chemical attacks in Syria, this

cooperation has been sustained. This leads me to my final observation

concerning the peace and security benefits of the

OPCW’s engagement in Syria. There can be no suggestion of


‘mission over’ for as long as chemical attacks continue in that

country and their perpetrators go unpunished. What rallied the

international community to take action in this regard was the

OPCW’s confirmation, through its Fact-Finding Mission, that

toxic chemicals had been used systematically as weapons in

Syria. Based on a resolution adopted by the UN Security

Council, an OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism is now

working to identify the authors of these attacks. The results of

its work will play a crucial role not only for securing the gains

of Syria’s chemical disarmament. They will also serve to deter

new chemical attacks and ensure accountability in the eventual

efforts to obtain peace and reconciliation in Syria.

What all this shows is that consensus in one endeavour can be

extended to take in broader peace-related endeavours, however

great the obstacles. It also shows that disarmament need

not only be the outcome of peace, as some would argue, but

can in fact be a driver for peace in ways that are not immediately


* * *

The legacy of chemical disarmament clearly proves that

disarmament is not merely the regulation or elimination of

weapons. It is a process which is often difficult and challenging.

But its benefits are broad in scope, extending to the diplomatic

and political fields. The process helps to sustain dialogue and

cooperation and strengthens multilateralism.

More than twenty years since it was concluded, the Chemical

Weapons Convention remains the only multilateral disarmament

treaty that bans an entire class of weapons of mass

destruction, and at the same time regulates this ban through

international verification. Two of its provisions stand out, in


First, unlike the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical

Weapons Convention – or CWC – does not discriminate

between haves and have-nots. No member state is entitled to

possess or develop chemical weapons, much less to use them.

Those eight countries that have declared possession of such

weapons are obliged to get rid of them, as they now have, or

are in the final stages of doing so. The Convention is therefore

a ban on chemical weapons without any exceptions. Secondly,

while the Biological Weapons Convention, like the CWC,

prohibits an entire class of weapons of mass destruction, it has

no means of verifying compliance. Only the CWC has a verification

regime that holds its members to account – and not only

through the regular industry inspections I mentioned earlier.

It also has a challenge inspection mechanism, by which any

member can call for investigation of another member on the

basis of well-founded concerns over compliance.

These fundamental provisions speak to another unique feature

of the Convention – namely, the result-focused way in which it

was negotiated, and how this has shaped its implementation.

Making sure that the treaty’s comprehensive provisions could

be implemented required input not only from diplomats, but

also industry representatives and scientists. Scientists had to

draw up definitions, as well as provide advice on analytical and

verification activities. And industry had to be satisfied that its

commercially sensitive information could be protected in the

course of inspections. Without their involvement, the Convention

would not have been as effective as it has been. But, more

than this, the ongoing engagement of these stakeholders has

allowed us to transform habits of compliance into a culture

of proactive collaboration. We can see this in the work of the

OPCW Scientific Advisory Board, which keeps us up to date on

how advances in science and technology can challenge implementation

of the CWC, as well as enhance it.

We can see this in our consultation with industry – to streamline

its reporting obligations and develop ways of improving

them. We can see this in our engagement of non-government

groups, academia and civil society – to source new ideas and

to help them expand our disarmament community through

awareness-raising activities.


And, above all, we can see this in the interaction between

Member States. The practice of consensus is firmly ingrained

at the OPCW. There is no formal requirement for decisions

to be taken by consensus. But it demonstrates the wisdom of

making progress by seeking to take everyone along, thus

strengthening the universal commitment to chemical disarmament.

This combination of prohibition and verification, on

the one hand, and engagement and outreach, on the other,

will, in my view, be the key determinant of the OPCW’s ongoing

success. As we approach our long-cherished goal of the

elimination of existing chemical weapons, our future success

will be measured not only by weapons destroyed, but also by

weapons not rebuilt. The latter is a complex undertaking,

whose outcomes will be far less visible and therefore harder to

attract political support for.

What makes the task of preventing proliferation of chemical

weapons so difficult is the inherently dual-use nature of what

goes into making them. This means that many of the materials

and production technologies we monitor have beneficial

applications in medicine, in agriculture and in consumer goods

production. But they can likewise be misused to manufacture

chemical weapons, such as nerve agent and sulphur mustard.

What is more, there are many widely traded industrial chemicals

which are not monitored by the CWC regime, but can be

used as chemical weapons. Chlorine, for example – the same

chemical that purifies municipal water supplies and sanitises

hospital and kitchen floors – can choke and kill when dispersed

as a concentrated gas. We have recently seen this happen in

Syria, as we did a century ago in Ieper. It is for this reason that

the CWC does not limit its definition of a chemical weapon

to purpose-built chemical weapons. It encompasses any toxic

chemical whenever it is used to harm or to kill.

How, then, can we confidently protect against weapons that

will remain relatively accessible, even after we have destroyed

stockpiles of manufactured chemical weapons?

One thing from the experience of the OPCW is abundantly

clear: the hard power disarmament of prohibitions and verification

remains vitally important, especially in preventing

terrorists from acquiring chemical weapons – but it will not be

sufficient alone.

Consider this: some 15,000 potential new chemicals are added

to the chemical abstracts database every day. With our scientific

knowledge expanding at this rate, we cannot hope to oversee

every new chemical or production technology – nor should

we try to. Rather, monitoring and inspection activities must be

increasingly supplemented by a soft power disarmament based

on engagement and outreach. What this means is that we need

to collaborate with scientists and industry, not seek to control

them. We need to nurture a culture of responsible science in

our research institutions, in our universities, and in our schools.

And we need to encourage our scientists to develop a world

view and ethical framework that supports the aims of the CWC.

In recognition of this, the OPCW has made education and

outreach a core activity for underwriting our longer-term

success in preventing the re-emergence of chemical

weapons. Let me briefly highlight two of the initiatives we have

developed. The first is the establishment of an Advisory Board

on Education and Outreach. Drawing on expertise from

around the world, Board members will guide our development

of new activities, materials and e-learning tools to increase

awareness of the dangers posed by misuse of dual-use technology.

They will also help us to expand our reach into universities

and schools, through more interactive formats, to inculcate

habits of science in the service of peace. The second initiative

has been the OPCW’s facilitation of a German-led proposal on

developing a code of ethics for practitioners of the chemical

sciences. Bringing together industry representatives and scientists

from some two dozen countries, we were able to lay out

professional ground rules for preventing the misuse of science –

what participants named The Hague Ethical Guidelines. Their

value as a vocational guide draws directly on the authority of

its authors – an international community of engaged chemistry

practitioners. There is, therefore, nothing ‘soft’ about the



impact of soft power disarmament based on engagement and

outreach. It is a vital extension of the disarmament mission at

a time when governments no longer hold the sole prerogative

for security, and when any effort to broaden the community

of stakeholders for peace and disarmament must be welcome.

* * *

This leads us to a final question: Why have we not been able to

replicate in other areas the success of the Chemical Weapons

Convention over the two decades since it was negotiated?

It is true that traditional multilateral disarmament appears to

have stalled. The last treaty to be concluded at the Conference

on Disarmament in Geneva was the Comprehensive Nuclear Test

Ban Treaty in 1996 – some twenty years ago. But the international

community has nonetheless notched up several successes

in significantly reducing numbers of nuclear weapons and enhancing

non-proliferation measures, especially in containing

the number of new nuclear-armed states. We have also devised

and implemented new approaches that have been responsive to

emerging threats, such as UN Security Council Resolution 1540

and the Nuclear Security Summit process. Both of these are

aimed at preventing non-state actors from gaining access to

materials and technology related to weapons of mass destruction.

and the rise of new transnational threats ranging from terrorism

to climate change. We would do well to heed the advice of

Friedrich Schiller in this respect, “Live with your century, but do

not be its creature (Lebe mit deinem Jahrhundert, aber sei nicht

sein Geschöpf)”. In the case of chemical disarmament, our past

success in destroying stockpiles of chemical weapons will be

different from our future success in preventing the reemergence

of such weapons. If the Chemical Weapons

Convention is to be held up as a model for disarmament in

other areas, it is this flexibility and responsiveness to changing

circumstances – alongside the political will driving it – that I

hope will be most persuasive.

* * *

Just like the concepts of justice or equality, the notion of peace

is driven by ideals. And yet we should remember that ideals

and appeals to our humanity are not, of themselves, enough.

We must base such appeals on comprehensive and enforceable

rules. Only then will we be able to give full flight to what

Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature.” The

way we have been able to do so in the field of chemical disarmament

has been by transforming habits of compliance into a

culture of collaboration – by going beyond what must be done,

to what ought to be done.

This recalibration has partly been in response to a pressing

new reality. While states are generally constrained by legal

norms, and the threat of their using weapons of mass destruction

is now remote, the only constraints on terrorist groups are

procurement opportunities. Limiting such opportunities in

respect of weapon-sensitive materials and technologies must

be accorded a high priority. In light of this, perhaps the more

relevant question to ask is what sort of success do we need in

order to secure against new and emerging threats to peace?

For, as I have sought to show here, disarmament must be a comprehensive,

holistic process that seeks to make its gains permanent

by anticipating and addressing future threats. The broader

challenge before us is to rethink our security amid a still evolving

present, characterised by growing economic interdependence

Given the reality of what weapons of mass destruction can

bring about, disarmament will remain an indispensable

founding stone for building peace. It is hard work, often full

of frustration. But we must not give up. Built brick by brick,

disarmament can support a large and elaborate edifice to

peace. This message sounds particularly resonant at the

Frauenkirche, which has seen the ravages of war over the centuries

but has prevailed as a symbol of the human urge for peace

through perseverance. The search for peace is the most

important part of our humanity. I hope that the role of disarmament

I have outlined here shows clearly at least one thing –

that true disarmament is nothing less than a re-armament of

our humanity.

Thank you for your attention.


“Taking the Message Further”

The Peace Competition “Students meet Nobel Prize Laureates

The message of the lectures by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates at

the Frauenkirche is directed especially at the next generation,

taking seriously their responsibility for our world‘s peaceful

future. This is now the second time that young people have

been invited not only to hear what a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

stands for, but also to actively engage with that work and,

moreover, to develop their own ideas about how to carry on

that commitment. A competition held within the Free State of

Saxony encouraged students in Years 9 to 12 to address the topic

of peace and reconciliation, asking the question, “Achieving

a chemical weapons-free world: How can we ensure chemical

weapons never re-emerge?” This was the question posed by the

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate invited to the event this year, Ahmet

Üzümcü, as a specification of the general question and leitmotif

for the peace competitions at the Frauenkirche: “What can we

do today to make the world more peaceful in 20 years‘ time?“

The competition challenged the young people to investigate

the topic intensively in small groups, taking various points of

view and arguments into account, and to adopt their own

position on the matter. Competition entries in various formats

were allowed, to encourage the students to employ their

talents and skills in different ways: essays, short films, audio

dramas, multimedia presentations or even websites. The submissions

offer an impressive demonstration of the students

high motivation and abilities at tackling the task presented

by their teachers. The three winners were selected by a

panel of judges made up of high-ranking personages from the

fields of science and politics. Another vote, representing students,

was cast jointly by three young women whose previous

peace work on projects at the Frauenkirche qualified them as

members of the panel. In addition, four students who were

among the winners of the last peace competition had a say


Young visionaries of peace

This was the second time that Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation

had held a Saxon schools competition. It enticed 59

entrants to follow the call for creative solutions for a more

peaceful world. They used age-appropriate means of depiction

to address the competition topic set by Director-General

Ahmet Üzümcü, “Achieving a chemical weapons-free world:

How can we ensure chemical weapons never re-emerge?”,

entering their blogs, websites, videos and artworks, among

other things.

A panel of experts (Ambassador Dr Christoph Israng of the

Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany

at the OPCW in The Hague, Permanent Secretary Dr

Frank Pfeil of the Saxon Ministry of Culture and Dr Oliver

Meier of the International Security research division at the

German Institute for International and Security Affairs) and

students who had taken part in the previous competition

named three winners. The prizewinners were given the

chance to experience a themed day at the Frauenkirche, to

talk to Director-General Üzümcü and to attend his lecture as

guests of honour.

in the panel‘s decision, adding an element of consistency to

the recurring competition. The competition prize offered

the young winners the unique opportunity to meet Ahmet

Üzümcü personally in the lower church of the Frauenkirche,

to present their work to him and, during a private discussion,

to ask him about his work as Director-General of the Organisation

for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

and his general experiences on an everyday basis. During this

exclusive meeting, the three groups of winners were presented

with certificates acknowledging their achievement. This

was followed by the impressive performance of a song composed

by students especially for the peace competition. The

special honour of coming into close contact with a politician

who has rendered great services, and rediscovering and experiencing

the importance of peace with him, was an unforgettable

experience for the students. Thanks to the acknowledgement

this meeting gave them, the young people clearly also

felt responsible for taking action to achieve peace and reconciliation

throughout the world. Quite how strongly they were

affected was evident from the many hands raised in answer to

the question of who could imagine working in the diplomatic

services in future. In a surprise move, Ahmet Üzümcü extended

an invitation to the newly announced prizewinners to come to

The Hague, find out more about the OPCW and present their

competition entries to an international audience. This is bound

to further strengthen their resolve to take up a career in the field.


Prior to the personal meeting with Ahmet Üzümcü,

the students found out why the Frauenkirche was the

perfect place for the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate‘s lecture

during a general tour of the church. Starting out in the

lower church and leading up to the viewing platform, the

tour stopped at specially selected spots to show how the

Frauenkirche is a place of peace. „Hold thy tongue and

listen. Open up thy heart. Seek out peace.“ – one singer

began, then one young voice after another joined in with the

haunting Benedictine song, turning the lower church into an

acoustical receptacle as a sung dialogue advanced towards

the altar stone at the centre of the room. Stories, guided

observation and examination revealed the ways in which the

space had once been used – as a burial place, a church cellar,

a shelter during the Second World War, and the place where

the church came to life during ist reconstruction. Past visible

signs of war and destruction, transformation and healing,

the visitors‘ path led into the main body of the church, where

they took a closer look at some of the reconciliatory work

carried out during its reconstruction: the tower cross, the urn

of fire from Gostyn and the Cross of Nails on the altar table.

The overall theme of this exploratory tour was based on

the topics found on the church‘s different architectural

levels. While subjects such as death and resurrection, des-

truction and new beginnings encourage visitors to the lower

church to engage in historical reflection, in the main body

of the church, above it, the accent is mainly on shaping the

present: this is the main site of modern life in the Frauenkirche.

Moving further upwards naturally suggests a move

towards the future. Just as the dome of the Frauenkirche can

be seen from afar, and the outlook from the viewing platform

reaches into the distance, the message of the Frauenkirche

reaches out into a future world of peace, emanating from

people‘s renewed relationship with God, with one another

and with all Creation. The main dome contains a “world

of wishes”. When you climb the spiral ramp to the viewing

platform and look inside through the glass, you can see this

permanently displayed transparent globe containing orange

origami cranes and cubes with information on chemical elements

from the periodic table.

The cranes were folded by the winners of the 2013 schools

competition, when Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr Mohamed

ElBaradei, the former Director-General of the International

Atomic Energy Agency (IAEO), visited the Frauenkirche,

talked to the students and held a public lecture on

peace in the evening. On the inside or outside of the paper

used to make the cranes, the then winners wrote their wishes

for a more peaceful world. Based on the focus of the


“The idea of taking part in a peace competition got

our whole class excited straight away. We created a

blog to make people aware of the subject, especially

young people, and we were thrilled that we won. The

day the awards were presented was brilliant. The chance

to get across our point of view on issues at the start

was a great way to get to know one another and test

our knowledge. We sang and reflected; we learned a

lot of new things and explored the Frauenkirche. It‘s

a great feeling that we were able to immortalise ourselves

in the ‘world of wishes’. It was a very informative

day, and I learned a lot about chemical weapons.”

Marie-Louise Abolmaali

“I thought the day was interesting and informative. But

it also reminded us about what we can and should do to

work towards peace on earth. The history of the Frauenkirche

is a stark reminder for us all, and the day gave

me an opportunity to see the Frauenkirche from another

side, as a sign of people‘s willingness to make the

world a little better. The best thing for me was the conversation

with Ambassador Üzümcü, as I found out a

lot about his work and the organisation. I‘m happy that

I took part in this project, as it gave me the chance to

learn about the importance of peace from a different side.”

Magnus-Benedikt Zühlke

“The day at the Frauenkirche was an exciting experience.

We learned a lot about the place as a symbol of peace,

which was fascinating. I really got into the topic of war

and peace and was inspired to make up my own mind

about it. I think it‘s very important to alert young people

like us to this topic, which is why I think this campaign

by the Frauenkirche is really important. Of course, the

conversation with Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü was

also very interesting. All in all, I had an exciting, fun, but

also thoughtful day, one that I won‘t forget in a hurry.”

Carolin Maßloch


peace work done by this year‘s guest – the prohibition of

chemical weapons – this time the young people made paper

cubes with chemical elements drawn on them as on the

periodic table, and wrote their wishes for peace on those. In

the evening, during his public Nobel Peace Prize Laureate‘s

lecture, Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü explained in detail

the specific opportunities he sees to make the world more

peaceful, thus rounding off an eventful day at the Frauenkirche

for the students. Knowing “that their own wish was

now safe in the ‘world of wishes’ in the Frauenkirche” underscored

the young people‘s responsibility for the future and

led to the recognition that “this day inspires new projects for

a peaceful world”.

Dr Anja Häse



The Winning Entries for the Schools Competition

Three entries which stood out from the others as dealing with and presenting the

subject in an especially successful manner were selected by the panel.

“A world with chemical weapons”

Entry by 10 students in Year 10 at Evangelisches Kreuzgymnasium

Dresden | Blog using artistic means such as photographs and

poetry, to tackle the subject of the existence of chemical weapons

“A world without chemical weapons”

Entry by 22 students in Year 10 at Semper Gymnasium

Dresden | A website for information and discussion about the history,

legal status and consequences of the use of chemical weapons

A group of ten Dresden students addressed the competition

topic using an impressive combination of literary and original

texts, plus movingly presented black and white photographs.

In line with the times, and with young people‘s

interests, they used the blogging website tumblr to present

their work: a site where users can publish their own texts and

images in the form of a weblog.

The students themselves describe their entry as an

attempt to portray their own associations with chemical

weapons through imagery. The photographs show young

people in situations of uncertainty, pain and fear. Literary texts

and their own statements add further depths to these visual

messages. The blog culminates in the acknowledgement that

dealing with the subject made it clear to the students on one

hand how distant the subject is from their own everyday lives,

and on the other that people need to be made aware of the fact

that that situation is not self-evident.

The panel paid particular tribute to the “high aesthetic quality

of the photographs, whose hopelessness convincingly expresses

their horror at the use of chemical weapons”,

commenting that this highly authentic, creative

confrontation with the subject left a lasting


An entire class of students worked together on the second

winning entry. Aged 15 to 16, they put together an extensive

collection of material in a multimedia presentation on an information

website with articles in German and English.

The authors took a critical look at the status quo, discussed

how the world could be rid of chemical weapons and examined

the history and consequences of the use of chemical

weapons. This even involved filming their own explanatory

video and writing, recording and presenting a song; in other

words, using a remarkably broad spectrum of methods to deal

with the subject of the competition.

The panel drew attention to the extensive research and

in-depth engagement with the subject of the competition.

Rather than simply listing their insights, the students created

an impressive presentation using various stylistic means.

”A remarkable display of creativity and artistic quality. There

are videos, texts and an own song, and the students

even went as far as writing an essay. The blog

thus offers a wide-ranging impression of the

subject while being varied and fascinating to



“No solution – no problem?”

Entry by 10 students in Year 10 at the Evangelisches Kreuzgymnasium

| Website using a survey of people on the street to

show how little we know about chemical weapons, placed in contrast

with information

In the typically provocative manner of young people, the

authors of this entry show the lack of public consideration

of the subject of chemical weapons. Taking a spontaneous

survey of people on the street, they reveal the general public‘s

scant knowledge of the use, effect and consequences

of chemical weapons. The students place this in contrast

with information on the subjects brought up in the survey;

information which they have discovered through their own

research and present it on a website.

Self-critically, the students come to the conclusion that

though individuals can do little about chemical weapons, by

seeking out information and becoming involved, they can at

least “send out a small but clear message”.

This entry was mainly praised for its contrastive approach,

first showing how little attention is paid to the topic

but, rather than just leaving it there, also going on to put

together some relevant facts. “The entry clearly demonstrates

the lack of social and political attention paid to the

subject of chemical weapons”, the panel commented,

explaining that the entry‘s value lay in the fact

that it focused “on the contrast between the

threat and our lack of awareness, showing that

there are no simple answers to this problem.”


Saxon Students at the OPCW Day in The Hague

The winners of the peace competition were also conferred

another great honour in retrospect. At the invitation and

on the initiative of Ambassador Üzümcü, the three groups

of students were invited to attend the first OPCW Day in

The Hague. Playing an active role in the programme, they

were given a chance to present their competition entries

to an international audience, enter into conversation with

diplomats and perform their song “One Mistake” in front of

hundred delegates. The trip was supported by the Permanent

Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany at the

OPCW, which put together a first-rate programme of supporting

events for the students. This gave them insights into

the world of diplomacy, into everyday research activities and

into international jurisdiction. During the two-day trip, the

students thus found out a great deal about international efforts

for disarmament and peace on various levels.


Two days as special guests in The Hague – a student’s report

“Spending the morning at an international conference on

the prohibition of chemical weapons … a quick transfer to a

reception at the German Embassy … off the next day to a

chat with the German judge at the International Criminal

Court, the former president of the German Supreme Court. It

sounds like a day in the life of a European diplomat, but for

us it was the programme for our trip to The Hague.

But first things first! In January we took part in the peace

competition at the Frauenkirche in Dresden. The Nobel Peace

Prize Laureate Ahmet Üzümcü, who won the prize in 2013 for

the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,

called upon entrants to think about the possibilities of a

world without chemical weapons. Our entries won over the

panel, and we met Ahmet Üzümcü. But then something

totally unexpected happened. Director-General Üzümcü invited

us to the OPCW headquarters. That‘s when we really

started to get into international politics!

We took part as guests at the OPCW Day, a conference on

preventing the use of chemical weapons that actually lasts

several days, and did our best to represent Dresden and the

state of Saxony in a worthy manner. After we had passed on

a message from Saxon premier Stanislaw Tillich, practitioners

described how they were combating chemical weapons. It all

kept coming back to the subject of Syria. A former colonel

in the Belgian army reported on his investigations on the

ground there. It was always especially exciting when it was

about things that don‘t usually come to public attention. And

even apart from that we always felt like special guests, especially

as we were accompanied by the German Permanent

Representation at the OPCW and Ambassador Dr Israng.

How are chemical weapons actually deactivated, and how

are they located? We found out these practical details at the

OPCW lab, where we looked into the organisation‘s toolbox,

containing everything from detectors and protective suits to

bulletproof vests. Happily, it was something nice that gave

us goosebumps on that first evening: we joined students at

the Semper Gymnasium in a rendition of their song ‘One

Mistake’ in front of more than 100 delegates at the OPCW


The second morning started out with a blue sky, but still

finished with earnest faces. We visited the newly inaugurated

seat of the International Criminal Court. A judge, Dr Bertram

Schmitt, told us about his work. It isn‘t so often that you get

such a graphic, agreeably presented explanation of international

law. Later, when we observed a trial from the public

galleries, no-one was left cold: Bosco Ntaganda, a member

of the Congolese military, was called upon to answer for acts

of cruelty during the civil war there. The witness statements

brought up some awful details. It was quite a contrast going

back out into the spring air afterwards.

Back in the city centre, some seriously tasty diplomacy awaited

us again: we were invited to lunch at the German Ambassador‘s

residence, where we sat on a sofa beneath the

gaze of the German president, Joachim Gauck – or at least

his portrait. One surprising insight we brought back from The

Hague was that the German ambassador does have a table

football set in his garden!

Those were just a few selected highlights from just two

days. Our teacher, Dr Nicht, worked out that the programme

covered 14 items in all, and included meetings

with 11 politicians, diplomats, scientists and technological

experts. Maybe it will now motivate some of us to work

as chemists, to take up a career in the diplomatic services

or simply to step out into the colourful world of Europe.”

Rahel Gebhard, Evangelisches Kreuzgymnasium Dresden


“There is Reason to Believe that the ‘Islamic

State’ is Making its Own Mustard Gas”

On the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate‘s lecture in the Frauenkirche,

Dr Rainer Hermann talked to Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü about the current

situation regarding the use of chemical weapons.

Mr Üzümcü, in Syria the destruction of stocks of chemical

weapons, and of chemical weapon production sites, has

now officially been completed. But there are constantly new

poison gas attacks. How is that possible?

Since the OPCW started destroying chemical weapons in

Syria, nerve gases have not been used any more, but chlorine

gas and most recently mustard gas have been. Eighty to

ninety cases have been reported, but we have not been

able to investigate all of them to verify that information.

The Syrian opposition claims that the government‘s troops

have used compressed chlorine gas in barrel bombs

dropped by helicopters. We have not been able to verify that.

Are there also indications that mustard gas has been used?

Experts found out last year that mustard gas was used near

Aleppo. There were claims that the “Islamic State” was

responsible. In Iraq, too, there are signs that mustard gas has

been used, probably also by ISIS. There is reason to believe

that ISIS is making the mustard gas itself, which is a great

worry for us, as they could then also make other weapons.

example, to production sites for ricin or free-fall bombs; both

have only been declared retroactively. The government says

that they have converted a large number of free-fall bombs

into conventional bombs, but we have not seen any examples

of this. The amount of mustard gas destroyed before Syria

joined the convention is also uncertain. The process is not

complete. I will be presenting the Executive Council of the

OPCW with a report on the subject in March.

What do you know about the chemical weapons capabilities of

non-governmental players such as ISIS?

Not much. We know that some former Iraqi soldiers who were

involved in Saddam Hussein‘s chemical weapons programme

now work for ISIS. If the latest claims about mustard gas being

used against Kurds in Iraq are proven true, then ISIS must have

manufactured it themselves. If that is the case it would be

very worrying. The materials are not hard to come by. At early

stages of the conflict, equipment was found in Mosul that was

attributed to ISIS and used to manufacture chemical weapons

on a laboratory scale.

Has the Syrian government hidden some of its old stocks of

chemical weapons?

Some member states believe that Syria also owns some

chemical weapons which have not been declared. The technological

experts from the “Declarations Assessment Team”

(DAT) are there to find that out. They have already travelled

to Damascus 14 times. Recent questions are related, for

What needs to be done to stop chemical weapons and the substances

required to make them from falling into the hands of

the government in Damascus or of non-governmental actors?

It is the member states‘ duty to prevent these materials from

falling into the hands of non-governmental actors and terrorists.

In 2001, we set up a working group on terrorism, which

deals with the risks posed by non-governmental actors.


Does the use of chemical weapons in Syria undermine the

credibility of the OPCW?

There is not a single report of any unauthorised activities

by even one of the 192 member states of the OPCW. Everybody

who uses chemical weapons should be called to

account, whether they are states or individuals. That is the

only way to prevent the Chemical Weapons Convention from

being undermined. In Syria, the destruction of chemical

weapons may not have led to peace, but it has sparked a

political process and encouraged people‘s willingness to

manage the conflict.

The Chemical Weapons Convention is one of the most

successful disarmament initiatives ever. Why has it been more

successful than abolishing nuclear and biological weapons?

The use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War,

especially against civilians, was a catalyst for the Chemical

Weapons Convention, which was adopted in 1992. This

proscribes chemical weapons and treats all member states

equally. No country has the right to possess chemical

weapons; all stocks have to be destroyed under international

supervision. What is important is verification, when information

on stocks and equipment is checked. This requires the

commitment and compliance of the member states, and the

cooperation of actors such as the chemicals industry, or the

support of science.

Why does this not work with nuclear and biological weapons?

With biological weapons there is no comparable verification

mechanism. In the case of nuclear weapons, the spread of

nuclear weapons has largely been prevented; the number of

warheads has been reduced and countries have committed

to stop testing nuclear weapons. If the goal of “global zero”,

as President Obama put it in 2009, is to come within our

grasp, then the verification model used with chemical weapons

would be a good model for nuclear weapons.

Verification has worked with chemical weapons: 91 per cent of

all stocks of chemical weapons have been destroyed. But is it

possible for a country to hide some?

Of course. But the various countries are no longer interested in

possessing chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons

has become obsolete, as there are now means of protecting

oneself against them during a war, and as more efficient

conventional weapons have been developed. Added to that

is the inhumane nature of such weapons. Destroying chemical

weapons is very expensive, takes a great deal of work and

requires years. Over the last 19 years, the United States have

destroyed 90 per cent and the Russian Federation 92 per cent

in all, almost 70,000 tonnes. The Russian Federation aims

to be free of chemical weapons in four years, and the United

States in up to seven years. Every member state has to

destroy its own stocks. Syria was an exception. As Syria could

not afford it, the OPCW and the UN got together.

Mr Üzümcü, during the series of lectures by Nobel Peace

Prize Laureates in Dresden you said that disarmament was

nothing less than a re-armament of our humanity. Can the

OPCW declare the world free of chemical weapons in 2023?

Perhaps with the exception of North Korea, which probably

possesses chemical weapons. We do not know what or how

many. Hopefully Israel and Egypt will join the Convention in

the next few years; South Sudan is just a question of time.

Those four countries have not yet joined the Convention.

After Syria joined, the situation in the region changed. Once,

gas masks were distributed in Israel; today that is no longer

the case. Egypt is adapting its chemical weapons programme

to Israel‘s nuclear weapons capabilities and is not prepared

to give up until Israel joins the Non-Proliferation Treaty. But I

believe that the Chemical Weapons Convention should stand

on its own and not be linked to anything else.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 4 February 2016, politics, page 2

© All rights reserved. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH, Frankfurt.


“German Security Policy in the Light of

Islamic Threats”

At a dinner with a small circle of attendees, Dr Karl-Heinz Kamp, president of the Federal

Academy for Security Policy, reflected on the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate‘s lecture

Examining the particular challenges posed by current

developments for Germany, Europe and the transatlantic

community, three central questions arise: Where does Germany

stand today? What do the transformations in the Islamic world

mean? How can we react to these risks?

Where does German politics stand?

Future historians may well see 2014 as a turning point in

international politics whose effects come close to those of

11 September 2001. Of course, shortly after the turn of the

new millennium, “9/11” comes across as far more dramatic

in its media impact and its lasting effects. Yet the pressure to

change within German and European politics resulting from

the events of 2014 – in particular Russia‘s new imperialism and

the sea changes in the Islamic world – is similarly strong. As

a result, international security policy will look fundamentally

different in 2016 and the years that follow than might have been

expected in 2014. The year 2014 stands for another turn of the

tide, though mainly on a purely German level. At the very start

of the year, three top German politicians at the Munich Security

Conference promised greater German involvement in international

crises and conflicts, sparking a far-reaching debate. The

media spoke of the “militarisation of foreign policy”, and wide

swathes of the German public reacted with disapproval, perhaps

as they had got a little too cosy in their niche position of

not getting involved in international affairs, other than those

relating to trade and exports. Germany‘s neighbours and allies

pricked up their ears, but were less than willing to believe that

German foreign and security policy was really about to move

in a new direction. Whole generations of politicians had upheld

the principle of a “culture of restraint” for far too long.

Today, two years after the announcements by the Federal

President, the Minister for Foreign Policy and the Minister of

Defence, the other countries are currently rubbing their eyes

in disbelief. Germany is displaying determination towards

Russia and leading the way in the European Union, has

taken on a stronger military presence within international crisis

management such as that in Syria or Northern Mali, and is even

supplying arms to the Peshmerga forces in Iraq. Even the defence

budget has been raised without this sparking any serious protest.

However, Germany is also feeling the negative consequences

of its increasing willingness to take the lead and assume

responsibility. First, leaders usually reap criticism, whatever direction

they take. Major powers such as the USA have long been

familiar with this “damned if you do and damned if you don‘t”

situation. German politicians and public figures, however,

often react with surprise when their proposals are not met with

general enthusiasm. Second, political players in Germany need

to admit to themselves that even committed leadership, widespread

commitment, wide-ranging strategies and appropriate

actions do not automatically solve every problem. It is evident

that, in view of the large number of current crises, there are

limits to the range of political actions which can be taken. This

insight into the limited variety of options open to us can sometimes

be frustrating. There is no other field in which this is as

painfully clear as in the transformations taking place to the

south and southeast of the Mediterranean.


What do the chaotic developments in the Middle

East and North Africa mean?

risk the lives of their own soldiers if the situation following a

military intervention – as in Libya – is worse than it was before.

In view of the radical nature of the changes, and the outbreaks

of extreme violence in the Middle East, it is not appropriate to

talk of crises or revolutions in the usual sense. Conventional

upheavals usually end after a while and lead to a new order,

though it is an open question as to how welcome or workable

they may turn out to be. Instead, what we can observe in parts

of the Islamic world in the Middle East and North Africa is a

permanent erosion of statehood and order. Countries such as

Libya, Syria or Iraq are falling apart. Borders which have been

in place for many years are being swept away and replaced

with transnational caliphates. The state is losing not only its

monopoly on violence but also the ability to assert its authority

and its claim to maintain the order within its own territory.

Experts on the region are now starting to compare the

situation with the time of the Thirty Years War, during which

opposing religious, cultural and power-political combatants

clashed, throwing Europe into decades of misery and eventually

leading to the age of the Enlightenment. To take this analogy

further, the current developments could also be a historical

confrontation in the region which carries on until a state of

exhaustion is reached and – hopefully – ends in modernisation

and secularisation.

The consequences of this erosion of the state order are fatal: as

states and governments vanish, the chance to stabilise them

by external means vanishes along with them. There is no-one

to join forces with or to fight against politically, economically

or militarily during an intervention. The situation in Libya is

a perfect example: in a country with two competing governments

and another 1,000 to 1,300 in-fighting militias and

Islamist groups, the chances of successfully taking action or

even intervening from outside are extremely low. Military

interventions are also made especially difficult as the members

of NATO or the EU are suffering from chronic intervention

fatigue. These countries‘ societies are now very unwilling to

This results in the difficult situation that the international

organisations NATO, the EU or even the United Nations are

equipped with the means to manage crises but are only able

to apply those means to a very limited extent, if at all. Instead

of dealing with the causes of regional instability, now they are

having to deal with the consequences in the form of floods

of refugees, terrorism and Islamist violence. This partial powerlessness

is new, and another factor leading to the epochal

change beginning in 2014.

What can be done?

Clearly, these dangers, which are on a whole new level, at least

in terms of size, can no longer be tackled using standard instruments

of foreign policy and security. The search for new

solutions should be guided by five considerations.

First, politics should be sparing with calls to fight the root

causes. The idea always goes down well, but it raises expectations

which are difficult to fulfil. This is by no means an argument

in favour of political passivity; instead, it is a call for the

realisation that the steps taken will not lead to success quickly

or even reliably. Every effort to calm the situation in Syria, to

stabilise Iraq and to stop the violence spilling over into other

regions is of course essential and requires wide-ranging international

support. Yet if the current confrontations in the Middle

East and North Africa really are the historical confrontation of

the Muslim world, then these struggles will last years, if not

decades. This means that rather than announcing quick fixes,

governments should acquaint their citizens with the need for

strategic patience.

Second, if attempts to deal with the root causes are restricted,

this also means instead concentrating on the symptoms,

such as terrorism or refugeeism. The pressure to migrate towards

Europe will not give way, whatever efforts are made in


people‘s countries of origin. The fact that this requires far greater

resources, and will lead not only to a rise in defence spending

but also to far higher expenditure on domestic security

and assimilation aid, seems to be generally accepted among

the German population. The acid test of their understanding

of the challenges lying ahead will, however, come when it

becomes clear that those resources can only be accessed by

cutting back on the disproportionate but much-loved welfare

budget. Policy-makers will have to resist the temptation to

finance necessary spending by taking on more national debt.

Third, liberal societies with a democratic constitution are always

caught in a conflict between freedom and security.

Stronger controls on communication and privacy promise greater

security while also restricting people‘s rights to freedom

and data protection. One consequence of Islamist violence

will be that the pendulum swings further in favour of security

again, and the state allows further encroachments into people‘s

basic rights. A trend of this kind would apparently be

accepted by the majority in Germany, as can be seen by the

dwindling debate on cooperation among the secret services,

data monitoring or the activities of the US intelligence services

in Europe. Nonetheless, it will remain the task of society as a

whole to find the right balance between security requirements

and protecting people‘s privacy.

Fourth, we will have to come to terms with the sad truth that

however hard we work at security and prevention, it will not

be possible to prevent acts of Islamist violence in Germany.

This can be seen not just from statistical probability but also

from the dilemma that state institutions must be successful

at preventing an attack 100 per cent of the time. Terrorists,

meanwhile, just have to be successful one single time to spark

a catastrophe. But if the tragedy of Paris in November 2015

could be repeated at any time and place in Europe, then what

is needed above all is to increase societies‘ resilience – i.e. their

ability to suffer from attacks without collapsing into panic.

This involves informing the public about the extent of the danger

rather than maintaining a facade of absolute or extensive

safety. On the level of the government and administration, this

means regular emergency simulations and crisis management

so as to be able to react quickly and efficiently in case of need.

More than this, however, it also means practical, efficient communication

in a crisis, specifically including not only the government

but also the media.

Fifth, and finally, people‘s confidence in their own culture and

value system needs to be maintained. This includes defending

the democratic, liberal “Western” social order against external

hostility. Previously, it has often been seen as politically incorrect

to speak of the “West” as a political category, as it is an

exclusionary concept which shuts others out and automatically

creates an “East” or a “South”. This criticism no longer

applies. It is Russia which defines itself as an anti-Western

power and views Western values as a sign of degeneration.

And it is the Islamic State and its many clones which put

themselves forward not only as anti-Western but as against

the civilised world. In this situation, “the West”, which includes

not only large parts of Europe and North America but

also fully developed democracies such as Japan, South Korea,

Australia or Israel, is entitled to defend its own way of life.

Equipped with this kind of self-confidence there will be no

need to cover up Michelangelo‘s famous statues at the Capitoline

Hill in Rome just because a representative of a Muslim

state is visiting.

Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp is President of

the Federal Academy for Security Policy

in Berlin. This piece reflects the author‘s

personal opinion.


Ahmet Üzümcü

H.E. Mr Ahmet Üzümcü was appointed Director-General

of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

in December 2009 by the Conference of the States Parties

at its Fourteenth Session and began his first term of office

on 25 July 2010. He was reappointed for a second term

by the Conference of the States Parties at its Eighteenth

Session, in December 2013. Immediately prior to his appointment

as OPCW Director-General, he served as the Permanent

Representative of the Republic of Turkey to the United Nations

Office at Geneva.

Ambassador Üzümcü is a career diplomat with vast experience

in multilateral diplomacy. During the past decade he has

represented Turkey at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

(NATO) Council, the Conference on Disarmament, the United

Nations and other international organisations in Geneva.

Ambassador Üzümcü chaired the Conference on Disarmament

for four weeks in March 2008 and attended various disarmament-related

meetings and conferences in Geneva, Brussels

and elsewhere. He has a thorough understanding of and

considerable expertise in political and military affairs,

disarmament and proliferation issues.

Previously, Ambassador Üzümcü served as Deputy Undersecretary

of State for Bilateral Political Affairs at the Ministry

of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. From June 2002 to August 2004,

he was the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the NATO

Council in Brussels. He held the post of Ambassador of Turkey

to Israel from 1999 to 2002. From 1996 to 1999, he headed

the Personnel Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in

Ankara. Prior to that, he served in various posts at the Ministry

of Foreign Affairs as well as at the Turkish delegation to NATO

(1986-1989), the Turkish Embassy in Vienna (1979-1982) and

as a Consul in Aleppo (1982-1984).

In addition to his diplomatic experience, Ambassador Üzümcü

served in an international capacity as a staff member of

NATO’s Political Directorate from 1989 to 1994, where he

contributed to work on NATO’s Partnership for Peace initiative

in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War and

travelled extensively in Eastern European countries and the

former Soviet Union.

Ambassador Üzümcü was born in Armutlu, Turkey, on

30 August 1951 and holds a bachelor‘s degree in international

relations with a specialisation in public administration from

the Faculty of Political Sciences, Ankara University. He speaks

English and French fluently, is married and has a daughter.

Ambassador Üzümcü received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize on

behalf of the OPCW in December 2013. In January 2014, he

was awarded the Medaglia d’Onore and the Sigillum Magnum

by the University of Bologna in Italy. In December 2015, H.E.

Mr Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International

Development of France, decorated Director-General Üzümcü

with the Légion d‘honneur (rank of officer).


Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation would

like to thank for their kind support:

Special thanks also go to all the staff and volunteers from the Frauenkirche, whose hard work played a key role in making this event


Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation

Georg-Treu-Platz 3 | 01067 Dresden | Germany

Tel. +49 (0) 351 65606-100 | Fax +49 (0) 351 65606-112


Published by Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation | Georg-Treu-Platz 3 | 01067 Dresden | Germany |

Managing directors: Rev. Sebastian Feydt | Dipl. rer. pol. Christine Gräfin von Kageneck

Editor: Linda Lederhus

Text: Grit Jandura (unless otherwise indicated)

Graphic design | production: THORN werbeagentur Leipzig

Printing Company: Druckerei Thieme Meißen GmbH

Photographs: Steffen Füssel



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