A forthcoming update to NATO's mission statement should stress the importance of eliminating nuclear weapons, Norway indicated Tuesday (see GSN, May 21).
The alliance includes three recognized nuclear powers -- France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Washington also has an estimated 200 U.S. gravity bombs deployed in military bases throughout Europe as a hedge against Russia's nuclear arsenal. Norway, Germany and other NATO states have called for the alliance to consider removal of the weapons, and Oslo and Berlin have pushed to have the disarmament addressed at the next NATO summit in Portugal.
NATO's "new strategic concept should not be in the way of nuclear disarmament," the Philippines News Agency quoted Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store as saying.
The NATO Strategic Concept Expert Group, chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, "has not mentioned disarmament" in a report released last month, said the official.
"If NATO does not reflect modern thinking on disarmament, then we are out of touch," he said, calling for "less emphasis on nuclear deterrence."
Store made the remarks in reaction to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's stated support for the alliance's role in upholding the nuclear deterrent.
"For our deterrence to remain credible, I firmly believe it must continue to be based on a mix of conventional and nuclear capabilities. And our new strategic concept should affirm that," Rasmussen said in March (Philippines News Agency, June 23).