For Russia and NATO Global Youth Advocate for a New Spirit of Trust

In yesterday's session of the G8 Youth Defense Committee, next to finding consensus on striving for more transparency and efficiency for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) , the ministers reached common conclusions concerning the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)-- an international treaty interested in promoting the disarmament and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. 

German Defense Minister Johann Thomas Gratowski stated initially that one should not forget that the NPT throughout the past years had been rather successful, yet had still left room for improvement. These very improvements could be seen as “giving teeth to the NPTs” and granted the committee certain options of sanction mechanisms; this idea reached full approval of the committee, including the Russian delegate Engel Sayfutdinov. While the exact form of such sanctions remains so far undefined, the European alliance proposed the World Trade Organization's sanction mechanism as an example.

The afternoon session focused on NATO-Russia relations. Definition of the status quo already appeared to be a controversial issue. In regard to guarantees of Russia's current potential, Russian delegate Sayfutdinov stated, “We do not believe words anymore.” NATO Secretary General Andreea-Eugenia Barbu pointed out that initiatives, such as the European shield, would stem from common threats and would therefore be in the interests of both NATO and Russia. It was further stated consensually that 'Cold War Thinking' of arms race policies should be over. There is a new spirit of trust which national governments still lack, and which the youth delegates therefore wish to ignite.

Closing objectives were than made by Gratowski mentioning once again that “Most importantly, there is need for a partnership in which we trust. With real transparency to overcome retentions.” With Barbu adding that it should be explicitly be a “partnership in practice”, the U.S. Defense Minister Jon Askonas who performed the moderating role throughout the debate, stated that defending the European continent would be the remaining objective. French Thibault Breton de la Baronnière mentioned that it should be common knowledge that the threat is not European based. The German minister then concluded that while it was a question of defending the European continent, at the same time the region's stability had to be guaranteed, “Through this interconnectedness, one goes not without the other as European security depends crucially on Russia.”

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Lilian Emonds

During my studies of Political Sciences and History in Germany and France, I have gained experience in travel documentation and the initiation of intercultural dialogue. Inspired by the most recent global youth movements and my latest travels through North African countries, the G8 & G20 Youth Summit, taking place in Washington DC, June 2012, for me is a most welcomed opportunity to deliberate the youth's opinion on current and future challenges our world faces today and - together with my colleagues from the Summit's press corps - make the voice of our generation be heard!

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