European States Urge Withdrawal of Tactical Nukes

Several European states are using this month's Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference to renew their calls for removal of tactical nuclear weapons from the continent, the Associated Press reported yesterday (see GSN, April 23).

"They no longer serve a military purpose and do not create security," German State Minister Werner Hoyer said at the conference, which is held every five years at U.N. headquarters in New York (see GSN, May 4).

Germany has joined fellow NATO states Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway in calling for NATO to re-examine the role of "nuclear sharing" by alliance states and in urging the United States to pull the roughly 200 tactical arms that remain in Europe.

Hoyer called the weapons Cold War "leftovers" and said Berlin's "intention to bring about, in agreement with our allies, the withdrawal of the tactical nuclear weapons still stationed in Germany can be seen in this light." His comments were echoed by diplomats from the Netherlands and Norway.

The U.S. weapons are believed to be located at six military sites in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. Russia is believed to have a minimum of 2,000 deployed tactical arms deployed within its borders.

Belgian arms control envoy Werner Bauwens yesterday called on Moscow and Washington to begin talks on withdrawing their deployed nonstrategic nuclear arms "as soon as possible."

At a NATO summit last month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said cuts to U.S. tactical arms would need to be tied to matching reductions from Russia.

Some in Europe have called for the United States to move by itself in withdrawing its forward-deployed arms if bilateral reductions cannot be reached with Moscow (Charles Hanley, Associated Press/Washington Examiner, May 6).

May 7, 2010
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Several European states are using this month's Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference to renew their calls for removal of tactical nuclear weapons from the continent, the Associated Press reported yesterday (see GSN, April 23).