Today a group of 34 senior European politicians, military figures and diplomats have jointly signed a statement calling for urgent changes to NATO nuclear policy in the run up to the Lisbon Summit and for fresh attempts to engage Russia on a range of security issues from non-strategic (or “tactical”) nuclear weapons to ballistic missile defence.
The Group asks NATO to use the development of a new Strategic Concept, a draft of which is expected to be circulated to member governments by the NATO Secretary General within days, to support President Obama’s drive for multilateral nuclear disarmament and to show NATO leadership on the nuclear agenda.
In particular it calls for:
* A further reduction and consolidation of the 200 U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons stationed in Europe;
* A change to NATO declaratory policy to make it clear that the fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear weapons is only to deter nuclear attack and not to deter a wider range of non-nuclear threats;
* NATO engagement with Russia on the verifiable reduction and consolidation of non-strategic nuclear weapons across the whole of Europe;
* The retention and updating of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and for NATO to work for Russia’s return to this treaty regime;
* Use of the NATO-Russia Council to support the search for binding agreements on the future of ballistic missile defence.
The statement also challenges the alliance to conduct a full and inclusive review of NATO nuclear policy in 2011 and to use that review to show leadership on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation while finding new ways to operationalize core NATO concepts like burden-sharing, solidarity and the transatlantic link.
The statement provides added momentum to the debate on the future of NATO in the run up to November’s Lisbon Summit. A copy of the full statement is attached to this email and can also be found at: www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org.
It is issued only in the names of those who have endorsed it but has emerged from a sub-group of members of the new European Leadership Network (ELN) for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. This is an informal network of senior European political, military and diplomatic figures who have come together to address what they see as the world’s growing nuclear dangers.