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Greenpeace calls for nuclear -free NATO

Greenpeace calls for nuclear -free NATO

NATO/Brussels, 16 April 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.

The inspections will take place at Kleine Brogel Air base which houses nuclear weapons, NATO's Brussels Headquarters and its SHAPE military headquarters 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, Italy and UK) currently have an estimated 480 American air-launched nuclear bombs based on their territories," said Greenpeace International's Nicky Davies. "The NATO nuclear weapons states (US, France and UK) possess a combined force of over 10 000 nuclear weapons. The threat of nuclear weapons proliferation is greater now than it has been for years because countries have given up waiting for the nuclear weapons states to keep their promise to disarm under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and are now embarking on nuclear weapons programmes of their own.

"At a time when NATO members are urging countries like Iran to abandon their nuclear ambitions, we have the hypocritical situation in which non nuclear NATO states play host to US weapons.
"Greenpeace calls on NATO to disarm and become a nuclear-free alliance as a first step towards the global abolition of nuclear weapons."

There is growing political and public unease amongst a number of European countries towards hosting US nuclear weapons, with Belgium among them.

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

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

The citizen weapons inspections have grown out of frustration at the continued secrecy of nuclear weapon states over nuclear weapons deployment. The desire of activists to uphold International Law, which declares the threat and use of all nuclear weapons to be illegal, has led to citizen inspections at nuclear related sites around the world.

/Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future./

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