04:50 GMT +326 March 2019
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    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for a new thinking on disarmament policy and announced a Berlin initiative which he said aims to improve control over sophisticated weaponry

    Germany Wants to Curb Weaponry Capable 'to Kill Independent of Human Control'

    © AFP 2019 / BEN STANSALL
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    Earlier, the German Foreign Minister warned that the end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, from which the US administration decided to withdraw in October, would damage international disarmament policy and "fuel uncertainties and global armament tendencies".

    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called for a "new thinking" on disarmament policy and announced a Berlin initiative which he said aims to improve control over sophisticated weaponry.

    "Our rules need to keep pace with the technological developments of new types of arms," Maas told Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung, a German daily, referring to what he described as "fully automated weapons systems that can kill entirely independent of human control."

    READ MORE: Moscow Reiterates Its Position on INF Treaty Amid Uncertain US Commitment

    He warned that although space-based missiles that can travel many times faster than the speed of sound may sound like science fiction today, they may soon become a "deadly reality".  Maas declined to elaborate on the German initiative to curb such weaponry.

    In early November, Maas touted the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, from which the US administration decided to withdraw in October, as one of the most important arms control and disarmament agreements in history.

    "An end to the INF Treaty would bring down one of the greatest achievements of disarmament policy. This would fuel uncertainties and global armament tendencies," he underscored in a guest column for the magazine Der Spiegel.

    READ MORE: Germany Encourages to Preserve INF Treaty, to Reduce Arms Mechanism in Europe

    Maas urged Russia, the US and Europe to rethink the arms agreements that exist today, adding new weapons to them and creating armaments control architecture. He pointed out that even if the INF Treaty was to be preserved, it would not guarantee security as it does not cover contemporary nuclear-capable missiles, among other things.

    On October 20, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because of Russia's alleged non-compliance with the agreement. Moscow rejected the accusations, adding that Russia would be forced to take measures to ensure the country's security if the document is terminated by the US.

    The EU, in turn, expressed concern over Washington's move, with Germany saying that it advocates the preservation of the INF Treaty.


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    weaponry, missiles, policy, arms, INF Treaty, Heiko Maas, Germany
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