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Germany to Permit Modernization of Deployed U.S. Tactical Bombs
The German government will permit modernization of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons fielded in the nation, United Press International reported on Wednesday.
Berlin has accepted the continued presence of the weapons on its territory even though German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made expulsion of the estimated 10-20 B-61 gravity bombs a central focus of his agenda, informed sources said to the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau.
Defense analysts said Berlin dropped its opposition to hosting U.S. tactical arms this spring at the NATO summit in Chicago. Germany houses the weapons in accordance with the Western nuclear alliance's emphasis on burden-sharing.
NATO Defense College research chief Karl-Heinz Kamp said there were multiple causes for this reversal in position. "Generally the euphoria about nuclear disarmament has dissipated and the relationship between Russia and the USA has cooled again."
The United States presently has four versions of the B-61 deployed in Europe. The modernization program would extend their lifespan and replace the four versions with a single model. Nearly 200 U.S. gravity bombs are understood to be fielded at six military installations in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
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This report is the result of a Track II dialogue including distinguished former senior political leaders, senior military officers, defence officials, and security experts from Europe, Russia, and the United States.
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