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(21/04/2005)

Belgian Senate resolution demands nuclear disarmament


The Belgian Senate has this evening passed a resolution on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, calling for the withdrawal of the 480 US nuclear weapons based in Europe.
This is the first time that a parliament in Europe has demanded the withdrawal of these nuclear weapons that are currently based in Belgium, Germany, England, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. The United States is currently the only country to have nuclear weapons stationed on the territory of other countries.

The political momentum for this resolution has been rising within Belgium over the past months. 200 Belgian mayors from all political parties who have joined the "Mayors For Peace" network, supporting the emergency appeal of the Mayor of Hiroshima, for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. 500 activists were arrested on Saturday 16th April during the "Bombspotting XL" nonviolent direct action at four sites in Belgium related to NATO nuclear weapon policy.

The resolution was approved by the Senate Commission on Foreign Affairs and Defence on March 22nd this year, and calls on the Belgian government to adopt a balanced approach to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The resolution was submitted by Senators Patrik Vankrunkelsven (VLD), Lionel Vandenberghe (Spirit), Pierre Galand (PS), Sabine de Bethune (CD&V), Christian Brotcorne (cdH), Annemie Van de Casteele (VLD) and Philippe Mahoux (PS).

The resolution makes reference to the disarmament obligations contained in Article VI of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It asks the government to contribute to a stronger disarmament agenda at the upcoming NPT Review Conference. The government is also required to pursue this policy in other international fora such as NATO and the EU.

"The adoption of this resolution is an important signal for the people who have been demanding clarity around the secret nuclear weapons based at Kleine Brogel in Belgium. A great majority of the population want to see the complete abolition of nuclear weapons, in Belgium and elsewhere. The demand from the Senate for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons has certainly not fallen out of thin air. We want to see an end to this system of nuclear apartheid. How can we continue to forbid Iran to develop nuclear weapons when we store US nuclear weapons in our own country." said Pol D'Huyvetter, campaigner with For Mother Earth.

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