NATO should hang its head in shame declares Greenpeace

Press release - 21 November, 2002

Greenpeace campaigners in Copenhagen, Denmark erect 'Stop Star Wars' banners. Danish participation is crucial to US Star Wars plans.

Greenpeace denounced the final declaration of the NATO Prague Summit as "feeble and pathetic". In their 'Prague Summit Declaration', NATO member states failed to send any signal to the international community of how they plan to support, implement and improve upon the existing international nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regimes. Instead, they merely "reaffirmed" that these types of regime are an "essential contribution" to preventing the spread and use of weapons of mass destruction and stressed the "importance of abiding by and strengthening" them.

"At a time when the international nuclear non-proliferation regime is in crisis, NATO had a unique opportunity in Prague to issue a clear statement of support and a plan of action on how they intend to uphold and strengthen the regime. Instead they issued two sentences that committed them to absolutely nothing and decided instead to dash further down the road towards acquiring a missile defensive system," commented the Greenpeace International Disarmament Campaigner, William Peden.

NATO also authorised a new missile defence feasibility study to look into options for protecting the Alliance from a possible missile attack despite there being no clear threat, no clear need and no clear idea of what systems may eventually work. "This is stupid. The US does not have a single missile defense system anywhere near operational, there is no realistic threat to NATO and therefore no need for NATO to waste time and money on looking any further into this dangerous Star Wars programme.", continued Peden.

The Bush Administration also wants to upgrade the early warning radar at the Thule US Air Force base in northwest Greenland as well as at Fylingdales and Menwith Hill in the UK. These would be critical components of US missile defense plans but in order for them to be used, the permission of the Danish and British governments is essential.

In protest at the Danish governments recent willingness to give this permission and to pursue missile defence with the United States, twenty Greenpeace activists supported three climbers who scaled the Foreign Ministry building in Copenhagen with banners reading 'Stop Star Wars' and 'No New Arms Race' this morning. "The Danish government should be denouncing not supporting US attempts to impose on NATO its new aggressive military doctrine with pre-emptive strikes, including the possible use of nuclear weapons," says Dan Hindsgaul from Greenpeace Nordic.

Notes: The Denmark/Greenland missile defence situation, NATO/US plans for missile defence, US/Russian nuclear disarmament plans and what the US plans for its own and its allies missile defense systems upon request.Greenpeace will be available for comment as developments occur at the Prague summit in the Hotel Ametyst, Jana Masaryka 11, Prague tel: 420 224 254 185 (via shuttle bus 12 that leaves the Congress Centre at fifteen minutes past the hour)