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The letter of the 5 on the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons: the text

(BRUSSELS2) Letter addressed to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway concerning the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons of European territory.

(thanks to Hans de Vriej – from Dutch Radio International – who published this letter in English – unofficial translation)

In the Strasbourg Declaration on Alliance Security, Heads of State and Government declared that while deterrence remains a central element of our overall strategy, NATO will continue to play its role in strengthening arms control and the promotion of nuclear and conventional disarmament in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as well as non-proliferation efforts.

The international agenda of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will converge in spring 2010. Negotiations for the future START are underway and the “US Nuclear Posture Review” should be published soon. We welcome the US initiative for a nuclear security summit in April 2010. The NPT review conference in May is a crucial step in strengthening the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

We hope to see further achievements in the field of disarmament and arms control, such as the ratification of the CTBT/TICEN (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty), a Fissile Material Elimination Treaty (FMCT) and the inclusion of
sub-strategic nuclear weapons in later stages towards nuclear disarmament.

Credible deterrence on the one hand and arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation on the other must be considered as an integral part of a global policy. NATO will need to continue to pursue this policy in a balanced and mutually enriching manner, as past successes have proven.

Arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation are higher on the international agenda than they have been for many years. We welcome President Obama's initiatives to move toward substantial reductions in strategic arms, to move toward reducing the role of nuclear weapons, and to seek peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons. We believe that, even in NATO, we should discuss what we can do to move closer to this overall political goal.

Our meeting in Tallinn, which takes place on the eve of the NPT Review Conference, gives us the opportunity to open an in-depth debate on these issues and develop guidance for the New Strategic Concept process. Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway therefore propose to include the subject of NATO nuclear policy in our security environment which is evolving in the agenda of this meeting.

We approach this discussion from a realistic perspective. Our future policy requires the full support of all Allies. NATO is defining its direction in an evolving security environment. We see our initiative as a contribution to this debate. This is an opportunity not to be missed.

Steven Vanackere (Belgium),

Guido Westerwelle (Germany),

Jean Asselborn (Luxembourg),

Maxime Verhagen (Netherlands),

Jonas Gahr Store (Norway)

(NB: Ministers of Foreign Affairs of their respective countries)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).