7 December 2007: for immediate release
European Mayors with US nuclear weapons deployed on their territory will this Saturday issue a remarkable common position paper. They will be demanding the withdrawal of the remaining US nuclear weapons from their Municipalities [see note 2]. The Mayors from Peer (near to Kleine Brogel airbase in Belgium), Aviano and Ghedi (Italy), Uden (Volkel – The Netherlands), Incirlik (Turkey), and Buechel (Germany) receive support for their appeal from the Executive Cities of the Mayors for Peace, including the Mayors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Florence, Manchester, and Hanover.
The paper, available as an Op-Ed, is available on request from CND, embargoed until this Saturday.
The Mayors for Peace organisation, with 1,937 members in 126 countries, campaigns for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2020. The organisation includes 45 UK Mayors, amongst them London, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Coventry, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester.
The appeal of the European mayors runs counter to NATO policy, which neither confirms nor denies the presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe. The Mayors denounce this lack of transparency which makes honest democratic debate all but impossible. The US is the only nuclear weapon state to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of other states.
“While our public is regularly provided alarming media reports of nuclear dangers in Iraq, North Korea or Iran, what is supposed to be a well-informed western audience is living in ignorance of the destructive power of thousands of potential Hiroshimas stored in their backyards” declare the mayors Stefano Del Cont (Aviano), Anna Giulia Guarneri (Ghedi), Theo Kelchtermans (Peer), Dr. Joke W. Kersten (Uden), Heinz Onnertz (Buechel) and Vedat Karadag (Incirlik).
Mayors in the Czech Republic have become increasingly significant in stating the opposition of the majority of the population who oppose US plans to site a radar for the Missile Defence programme in the country. Recently a conference of 86 Czech Mayors launched an organisation opposing the plans, which are queried on health grounds as well as geo-politically.
The position paper coincides with the 20th anniversary of the historic INF treaty which was signed in Washington D.C. on 8 December 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. The treaty eliminated intermediate-range ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles. The INF Treaty marked the start of an era of détente between the Soviet Union and the West. The Mayors declare that 20 years later the time has come to take new steps for the implementation of Article VI of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which imposes a legal obligation on all nuclear weapon states to negotiate nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.
The paper will be published as an Op-Ed simultaneously on Saturday December 8th in a number of newspapers internationally, amongst which are Le Soir in Belgium, Reformatorisch Dagblad in The Netherlands and Hurriyet in Turkey.
Notes to Editors:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. According to the Federation of American Scientists there are 110 US nuclear weapons at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, 50 in Aviano and 40 in Ghedi (Italy), 20 in Kleine Brogel (Belgium), 20 in Uden (Netherlands), 20 in Buechel (Germany), and 90 in Incirlik (Turkey).
3. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.