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<> 26 april 2004

Report secret US nuclear weapons in Europe to the United Nations in New York

Citizens Weapons Inspections in the absence of the United Nations
For Mother Earth presents a report about secrecy surrounding US nuclear weapons in Europe to the UN in New York

Brussels/New York, April 26, 2004 ­ The Belgian NGO For Mother Earth will blow the whistle on the secret deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe next Tuesday April 27th, during the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) PrepCom meeting in New York. Belgian Senator Patrik Vankrunkelsven will present the “Citizens Weapons Inspection Report” to the State Parties of the NPT, during a plenary session at the UN headquarters in New York. The presentation will take place between 3 and 6 pm on April 27th 2004. Senator Vankrunkelsven is a member of the ruling conservative liberal party (VLD). He has been an active participant of Citizens Weapons Inspections in the past. The ‘Citizens Weapons Inspection’ report and its recommendations receives wide political support from Members of the Belgian Parliament from different parties as well as from members of the European Parliament. Nelly Maes, Member of European Parliament will draw attention to the importance of the report during the next meeting and last session of the Foreign Affairs Commission at the European Parliament tomorrow morning Tuesday April 27th.

The report illustrates the complete lack of transparency and democratic control regarding the secret storage of U.S. nuclear weapons in six European countries: Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. Until recently, similar weapons were also stored in Greece. It illustrates the fact that NATO member states do not live up to their disarmament obligations as stipulated in Article VI of the NPT. NATO’s nuclear sharing is in violation of Article I and Article II of the treaty. Finally, the report condemns the repression that is often used against both Members of Parliament and concerned citizens who carry out inspections of nuclear weapon related facilities in NATO member states.

Senator Patrik Vankrunkelsven declared: ”Today the U.S. is the worst example of hypocrisy when it comes to weapons of mass destruction. Over ten thousand people were killed in the past year in Iraq, while no weapons of mass destruction, which provided the justification for the war, were ever found. In Belgium, elected members of parliament don’t get any information about the possible presence of U.S. nuclear weapons of mass destruction at an airbase in the north of our country”. The U.S. nuclear weapons stored at Kleine Brogel in Belgium are just a small part of the U.S. stockpile in Europe. Worldwide, the U.S. is estimated to have over 10.000 nuclear warheads, enough to destroy every life on earth over and over again”.

The lack of transparency and democratic control was illustrated once again during parliamentary debates last month. Following statements on the reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe made on March 9th by General James L. Jones (the highest U.S. General in Europe), subsequent questions by Members of Parliament were met by a refusal to confirm or deny the presence of these weapons. The deployment of a suspected 150 US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe continues to be clouded in a mist of secrecy.

In Belgium the call for compliance with the NPT, including transparency and democratic control, receives wide support crossing all traditional party lines:

Following Members of parliament have formally endorsed the presentation of the weapons inspection report during the NPT PrepCom: Dany Vandenbossche, Dirk Van der Maelen, President of Flemish Parliament Norbert De Batselier & Peter De Ridder (Social Democrats), Eloi Glorieux, Frans Ramon, Isabel Vertriest, Johan Malcorps & Vera Dua (Green Party), Annemie Roppe, Geert Lambert, Lionel Vandenberghe (Regionalists), Patrik Vankrunkelsven & Sven Gatz ( Liberals) and Roel Deseyn (Christian Democrats). Members of the European Parliament also endorse the initiative. Amongst them Anne Van Lancker (PES Belgium), Bart Staes (EFA Belgium), Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales), Nelly Maes (EFA Belgium) and Francisca Sauquillo (PES ­ Spain)

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Speech Senator Vankrunkelsven:

Full inspection report can be found on April 27th:

NPT treaty text:

Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels (formerly For Mother Earth) is a member of Friends of the Earth International