At this time we are experiencing with the murder of a former, this is in any case read what I had read, double agent in Great Britain one of the worst escalations which we had recently experienced. And naturally I understand each British citizen, who, with the indications that it concerns a chemical war weapon which was developed in the Soviet Union, and who primarily thinks of the questions: When was it developed and when it was produced in the former member states of the Soviet Union and if it is about a double agent, then there are possible indications that these weapons came from Russia […].
However, I suggest to ourselves as Germans and Europeans not to get involved in a public discussion which is becoming ever more tense. In our legal system, there are relatively simple although effective methods to examine legal issues. These are: a person is innocent until a court has proven otherwise. This assumption of innocence shall not push aside the scandal, in which the use of chemical war weapons in order to eliminate a human is naturally, and not the concern of the British to put this aspect aside. The way to achieve the solution can only be that the international committees receive the responsibility to examine this case and to provide us with the evidence which could be used for one or the other judgement of this murderous case.
We are members in a UN Organisation to control and to destroy chemical weapons. I believe, the smartest way can only be to mandate this institution for this examination and to give it all the information and after the examination to realise what political consequences we draw from this and not before this is done. This also prevents perhaps the worst poison in international relations as: the spiral of mutual suspicions and strange stories, in which the oddest ideas are developed, why maybe the other side did this or that and go after all its own conspiracy theories. One feels reminded of a really bad James-Bond film.
Why am I pleading for such a reflected German reaction? Because we here know from our own history how quickly national narratives can be used against each other, because we know that in the end, civilians and the people pay the price for such developments in doubt with their health and their lives. And also because we know that confrontations always have a venue in the end. If it comes to the carrying out of confrontations, then it is the soil of the Federal Republic of Germany and of Europe. •
Source: Official speech on the occasion of the Celebration of the German-Russian Forum e.V. “25 Years German-Russian Forum e.V.” on 15 March 2018 in the Berlin Hotel Adlon (extract).
(Translation Current Concerns)
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