Greenpeace calls for nuclear –free NATO

Press release - April 17, 2005
Greenpeace will join with Bombspotting activists today to make "citizen inspections" of three military facilities in Belgium in a symbolic action aimed at pressuring NATO member states to renounce their nuclear weapons arsenal.

Greenpeace rockets heading for NATO offices in Belgium.

The inspections will take place at Kleine Brogel Air base which housesnuclear weapons, NATO's Brussels Headquarters and its SHAPE militaryheadquarters in Mons/Bergen. Activists will dress as 'walking missiles'or carry huge Eyes of Mass Inspection as part of the inspection.

"Six European countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Italyand UK) currently have an estimated 480 American air-launched nuclearbombs based on their territories," said Greenpeace International'sNicky Davies. "The NATO nuclear weapons states (US, France and UK)possess a combined force of over 10 000 nuclear weapons. The threat ofnuclear weapons proliferation is greater now than it has been for yearsbecause countries have given up waiting for the nuclear weapons statesto keep their promise to disarm under the Nuclear Non-ProliferationTreaty (NPT) and are now embarking on nuclear weapons programmes oftheir own.

"At a time when NATO members are urging countries like Iran to abandontheir nuclear ambitions, we have the hypocritical situation in whichnon nuclear NATO states play host to US weapons.

"Greenpeace calls on NATO to disarm and become a nuclear-free allianceas a first step towards the global abolition of nuclear weapons."

There is growing political and public unease amongst a number ofEuropean countries towards hosting US nuclear weapons, with Belgiumamong them.

"The Belgian government avoids raising the NATO issue but at the sametime lives with the reality that at home almost all of the politicalparties approve the idea of decommissioning nuclear weapons based inBelgium," said Greenpeace Belgium's Wendel Trio.

"Greenpeace calls upon the Belgian Senate to back the call to removeNATO nukes from its soil when a key resolution comes before it laterthis month," Trio added.

The citizen weapons inspections have grown out of frustration at thecontinued secrecy of nuclear weapon states over nuclear weaponsdeployment. The desire of activists to uphold International Law, whichdeclares the threat and use of all nuclear weapons to be illegal, hasled to citizen inspections at nuclear related sites around the world.

1. 'Bombspotting XL' is organised annually by peace andenvironmental organisations demanding a nuclear free NATO.http://www.bombspotting.be

Exp. contact date: 2005-04-28 00:00:00