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Berlin wants to rid Germany of US nukes

AFP · 23 Oct 2009, 08:00

Published: 23 Oct 2009 08:00 GMT+02:00

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The precise make-up of the new German government will become known in the coming days, following negotiations between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats.

A copy of the parties' new common programme, which is due to be finalised by the end of the week, said Germany would support US President Barack Obama's call for a world without nuclear weapons.

"We will ask the (Atlantic) Alliance and our American allies to withdraw American nuclear weapons from Germany," a copy of the document obtained by AFP said.

International disarmament is one of the Free Democrats' key foreign policy positions, and their leader Guido Westerwelle appears to be after the job of foreign minister in the new administration.

Merkel's Christian Democrats, by contrast, have opposed all mention of US weapons currently on German soil.

Experts believe between 10 and 20 US warheads are currently stored underground in Buchel, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in southwest Germany.

In 2004, around 130 atomic bombs were removed from the Ramstein air base in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Merkel ditched her previous coalition partners, the centre-left Social Democrats, following elections on September 27 in favour of a new partnership with the Free Democrats.

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Negotiations on a common programme have not been plain sailing, with the two blocs at odds over a range of issues, most notably the deep tax cuts and reforms that the Free Democrats promised in their election campaign.

Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Sunday she expected coalition talks to reach a conclusion by this weekend.

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Your comments about this article

10:05 October 23, 2009 by Celeon
15 to 20 bombs are stored in Büchel. Not warheads.

You tip a missile with a warhead. A bomb is that classic thingy you let fall from a plane.

B61 unguided free fall bombs to be precise. Either mod 3 , mod 4 or mod 10 with a variable yield between 0.3 to 170 kilotons. They are all tactical nuclear weapons not strategic ones.

At the moment, they take part in the Life Extension Program and are refurbished to stay in service until 2025.

The Luftwaffe trained their usage with dummies on their Tornado fighter bombers during the cold war and propably still today.

Their main purpose would had been to stop advancing soviet troops with them if they could not had been stopped conventionally or the soviets would have used nuclear weapons first. Maybe a few were meant for usage on polish airbases important for soviet air superiority over Germany.

Its not worth anything to remove them from german territory.

A small ideological gain and a smile on professional protestor's faces at best while on the other hand Germany looses its small bit of a say over the deployment of u.s nuclear weapons as member of the nuclear sharing agreement.
10:54 October 23, 2009 by hkypuck
So when will Germany remove its nukes from the U.S.? - oh, that's right, there AREN"T any German nukes in the U.S., or Polish nukes in the U.S. or Italian nukes in the U.S. or Japanese nukes (or bases) in the U.S.

As an american I can't figure out how we have established some sort of military presence (nukes, bases, etc) around the world, yet it doesn't go the other way. I understand that some smaller countries with "strategic locales" would offer their real estate in exchange for military protection, but does a country like Germany still need the U.S. presence?
14:11 October 23, 2009 by The-ex-pat
"As an american I can't figure out how we have established some sort of military presence (nukes, bases, etc) around the world, yet it doesn't go the other way."

Because American foreign policy is, do as I say and not as I do. Always has been and always will be. The USA puts herself first and if you don't pow down then diplomatic teddies are thrown out of the cot resulting in something being withdrawn. What is withdrawn is of far more importance than economic ties, but security or sharing surveillance etc. The small stuff that you and I never see, but what is of huge importance to the hosting nation.
14:53 October 23, 2009 by Celeon
@ hkypuck

Basically it is the other way around. The USA needs Germany in that regard.

All u.s deployments in Iraq , Kosovo and Afghanistan go over the u.s bases (Like Grafenwöhr or Ramstein) in Germany. Its the main pivotal element for all u.s operations in these countries from resupply logistics , over medical services to troop deployments.

(For instance all wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq are treated in u.s hospitals here in Germany)

All soldiers in Iraq or Aghanistan go to Germany first on their way down there and its also the first station when they return.

On the other side the Luftwaffe has indeed the only permanent foreign military presence on u.s soil with the Luftwaffe Command USA/Canada which consists of a flight training center on Holloman Airforce Base, New Mexico and a airdefence training center for Patriot missile system at Fort Bliss.
18:21 October 23, 2009 by delvek
sigh ... its a thankless job, be cool if there was a parallel universe which provided a glimpse of the world if the United States decided to stay home from 1900 forward ...

What I hope is that one day, the United States stops shouldering the responsibilities of the world and let countries start invading each other again. Maybe then there would be a thanks instead of a BASH BASH BASH HATE HATE HATE ETC ETC ETC ON AND ON AND ON AND ....
19:15 October 23, 2009 by abemarch
Nuclear warheads should be removed from every country that has them. Starting with Germany seems a good idea. It shows leadership.
21:44 October 24, 2009 by thehoorah
Unfortunately for the U.S., most NATO countries depend upon our presence in Europe for their defense. Germany is no exception, and has benefited greatly over the years by not having to devote much money towards its defense budget or strengthening the Bundeswehr, b/c of the U.S presence in Deutschland. Like it or not, the German gov't wants the U.S. military within its borders.

Nuclear weapons are a deterrent to state actors, and whether one agrees with them or not, they are a reality and necessity of national security.
21:14 October 25, 2009 by MAT-CT-USA
If the money all countries waste on bombs and defence etc. was turned toward the practical care of citizens there would not be one starving nor one person in the world lacking healthcare.
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