Expanding NATO's Nuclear No's
Without fanfare the Clinton Administration has further specified its plans for NATO's future nuclear posture. According to Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, NATO's new member states, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, will be eligible to participate in political oversight of NATO's nuclear posture and in consultations on the use of nuclear weapons. However, their peacetime involvement in NATO's nuclear sharing arrangements will be limited to these tasks.
Unilaterally interpreting NATO's policy that the Alliance "had no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members, nor any need to change any aspect of NATO's nuclear posture or nuclear policy - and not foresee any future need to do so", Albright and Cohen stated, there are
Secretary Albright also indicated that NATO's politically binding commitments do not preclude further reductions in the number of nuclear weapons deployed in Europe, the removal of all nuclear weapons from any or all NATO nations currently hosting US nuclear weapons or changes to NATO's nuclear sharing arrangements.
These new statements were contained in written exchanges between the two Secretaries and Tom Harkin, a member of the US Senate, obtained by BASIC and BITS.
"These unilateral statements may prove very helpful", says Otfried Nassauer, Director of the Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security. "The interpretations will help to build confidence in Russia, that NATO does not intend or plan to circumvent or re-interpret the political assurances, given to the Russian Federation."
Stephen Young of the British American Security Information Council adds: "These statements further convey the declining significance of nuclear weapons in European Security. They will help paving the way for further reductions in NATO's nuclear posture."
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