Stoltenberg: Nato Will Remain A "Nuclear Alliance" As Long As Nuclear Weapons Exist
NATO has reduced its nuclear Arsenal in Europe by 90% but will remain a "nuclear Alliance" as long as such weapons exist in the world. This was stated by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in an interview published on Thursday with the German newspaper Die Welt.
"In reality, NATO has reduced its nuclear capability in Europe by 90%. But as long as there are nuclear weapons, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance," he said.
Stoltenberg welcomed Germany's "clear commitment" to its obligations under the NATO strategic concept of nuclear deterrence. "The NATO nuclear agreements are as important today as they have always been and still are. They offer the European allies nuclear protection, " the Secretary-General argued.
On May 4, German Cabinet spokesman Steffen Seibert said that Berlin remains committed to its obligations under the NATO concept of nuclear deterrence. "Within this framework, the government will ensure that Germany makes a proportionate contribution to the preservation of these NATO capacities," Seibert said.
In April, Der Spiegel magazine reported that the United States had upgraded its B61 nuclear warheads stationed in Germany. According to information received by the publication, the secret operation was carried out in the fall of 2019.
According to the third provision of the final settlement agreement with respect to Germany, which entered into force on 15 March 1991, Germany renounced its own production, possession, and disposal of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. By the end of June 1991, the USSR had withdrawn all military nuclear components from the territory of the former GDR.
However, US nuclear weapons continue to remain on the territory of the country as part of the strategic concept of NATO to intimidate potential adversaries. Up to 20 American nuclear warheads, according to unconfirmed reports, are located at an airbase near Buhl.
In March 2010, members of the Bundestag by a majority vote gave the government a mandate to negotiate with Washington on the export of American nuclear weapons from Germany. However, the then German Cabinet announced that it would not take any unilateral actions without the consent of its NATO partners.
The left party and the greens have long called on official Berlin to start negotiations on the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from the territory of Germany. In 2017, before the Bundestag elections, Martin Schulz, then a candidate for the post of Chancellor of the Social democratic party of Germany, also supported this.