Politicians demand Germany ditch US nukes

German politicians demanded on Monday US nuclear weapons be removed from German soil following a report they were being insecurely stored in Europe.

“Nuclear weapons in Germany are a leftover from the Cold War and they must be gotten rid of,” Guido Westerwelle, leader of the opposition Free Democrats (FDP), told the Berliner Zeitung. “If there are security risks then that’s just another reason to remove all tactical nuclear weapons still in Germany.”

Westerwelle called on the German government to negotiate a speedy redeployment of the weapons with the United States.

Jürgen Trittin, the deputy parliamentary group leader of the Greens, demanded Chancellor Angela Merkel renounce Germany’s pledge to take part in NATO’s contingency plans for nuclear war.

The parliamentary leader of the hard-line socialist part The Left, Gregor Gysi, told the newspaper Germany and Europe would be safer without the nukes. “If the government had any guts it would demand the USA remove the nuclear weapons immediately and destroy them,” he said.

Even members of Merkel’s ruling coalition – from the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) – said they were for ending the deployment of US nuclear weapons on German soil. SPD foreign policy spokesman Niels Annen said getting rid of the nukes in Germany would be a huge step for nuclear disarmament.

But his counterpart from Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), Eckart von Klaeden, said Germany still needed the weapons. “We can’t do without them so long as there are nuclear weapons in the world. Nuclear participation must remain part of German security policy,” he said.