Abolition 2000 is a worldwide network working for a global treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.
European mayors want withdrawal of US nukes from their territory
and 1,937 Mayors demand global elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020

Brussels, December 6th 2007 - European Mayors on whose territory US nuclear
weapons are deployed demand, in a remarkable common position paper, THE
withdrawAL OF the remaining US nuclear weapons from their municipalites. The
Mayors from Peer (Kleine Brogel - 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

The Mayors for Peace counts 1,937 members in 126 countries and campaigns for
the elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2020.

The appeal of the European mayors runs counter to NATO-policy which neither
confirms or denies the presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe. The Mayors
denounce this lack of transparency as this makes it very difficult, if not
impossible, to have an honest democratic debate. According to Hans Kristensen
from the Federation of American Scientists there are 50 US nuclear weapons 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). 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).

The Op-ed coincides with the 20th anniversary of the historic INF treaty which
was signed in Washington, D.C. on 8 December 1987 by President Ronald Reagan
and General Secretary 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 Op-ed will be published simultaneously on Saturday December 8th in quality
newspapers amongst which Le Soir in Belgium, Reformatorisch Dagblad in The
Netherlands and Hurriyet in Turkey. Some people are still working hard to get
in published in other papers.


Text of the Op-ed 

We are Still Waiting for Global Ban on Nuclear Weapons

On December 8, we mark the 20th anniversary of the historic Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The INF Treaty, an agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union, was signed in Washington, DC on December 8, 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. The treaty eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (300-3,400 miles). By the treaty’s June 1, 1991 deadline, a total of 2,692 such weapons had been destroyed, 846 by the U.S. and 1846 by the Soviet Union.

The INF Treaty was concluded after years of high tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. It put an end to deployment of mid-range nuclear weapons in five NATO member states: Belgium (Florennes), Germany (Mutlangen), Italy (Comiso), the Netherlands (Woensdrecht) and the UK (Greenham Common and Molesworth). These deployments had inspired, in the streets of western capitals, some of the largest demonstrations in human history, as the spectre of nuclear annihilation loomed over humanity. The INF Treaty marked the start of an era of détente between the Soviet Union and the West. In December 1989, Gorbachev and George H.W. Bush declared the Cold War officially over at a summit in Malta.

During the Cold War, Europe was divided between the transatlantic military alliances of NATO, and the Warsaw Pact, made up of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The Warsaw Pact was officially dissolved on July 1, 1991, soon after the end of the Cold War. The Soviet Union withdrew its nuclear weapons from the Ukraine and Belarus, now independent states.

Unfortunately NATO didn’t follow Russia’s actions, and U.S. tactical nuclear weapons remained in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the UK. Today, the United States is the only Nuclear Weapon State to deploy its nuclear weapons on the territories of non-Nuclear Weapon States, which, for many, violates the spirit of Articles I and II of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Many of these nuclear weapon deployments have become militarily obsolete. Because of their short range, they can only reach targets within new EU member states. Indeed, wherever based or targeted, their use would not be politically viable. It would appear that the main purpose of these deployments is political not military, i.e. to signal allegiance to the use of nuclear force, per se.

These deployments continue to be characterised by a high level of secrecy and lack of transparency. Questions by members of national parliaments in the countries where the weapons are deployed are always met with a “neither confirm nor deny” response, reflecting official NATO policy. This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to have an honest democratic debate.

A Greenpeace International survey in 2006 showed that the public in the six concerned countries are not aware of the deployment of nuclear weapons on their territories. Yet they are regularly provided alarming media reports of nuclear dangers in Iraq, North Korea or Iran. We all know today that the current war in Iraq was started over non-existent weapons of mass destruction. What is supposed to be a well-informed Western audience is living in ignorance of thousands of potential Hiroshimas stored in their backyards. The same survey showed that once informed about the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons on their territory, a large majority of the public wants them to be withdrawn.

On July 8, 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.” Here the ICJ was clearly referring to Article VI of the NPT. The treaty, signed by 188 states, does not deal only with the proliferation of nuclear weapons to non-NWS such as Iran. When signed in 1968, the NPT also imposed an obligation on the NWS to move swiftly and in good faith towards complete nuclear disarmament.

The unwillingness of the Nuclear Weapon States to negotiate a global treaty banning all nuclear weapons has been frustrating for most governments. For decades the United Nations General Assembly has been adopting nuclear disarmament resolutions, with large majorities. The United States, Israel, France and the UK have been champions in resisting substantial progress towards complete nuclear disarmament. Last year, the United States announced plans to produce new so-called “Reliable Replacement Warheads.” This year the UK announced the replacement of its nuclear Trident system, while France is testing a new nuclear M-51 missile.

During one of his last speeches as UN Secretary General, on 22 November, 2006, Kofi Annan said: “While governments are coming together to address many global threats, the one area where there is a total lack of any common strategy is the one that may well present the greatest danger of all -- the area of nuclear weapons”. Annan added, during a lecture at Princeton University: “We are asleep at the controls of a fast-moving aircraft.... An aircraft, of course, can remain airborne only if both wings are in working order. We cannot choose between non-proliferation and disarmament. We must tackle both tasks with the urgency they demand.”

Even during the height of the Cold War there were already calls for a nuclear weapon free world. On January 15,1986, Gorbachev announced a Soviet proposal for a ban on all nuclear weapons by 2000, including INF missiles in Europe. This was dismissed by the United States.

Twenty years later, however, on January 4, 2007, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William Perry and George Schultz made a remarkable call for complete nuclear disarmament in the Wall Street Journal. Warning that in the post-Cold War world, reliance on nuclear weapons is becoming “increasingly hazardous,” they asked: “Can the promise of the NPT and the possibilities envisioned at Reykjavik be brought to fruition?” We believe that a major effort should be launched by the United States to produce a positive answer through concrete stages.”

On the 20th anniversary of the INF Treaty, our task is to develop practical steps to advance the 2020 Vision campaign launched by Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima, and now supported by over 1800 mayors worldwide, to rid the world of nuclear weapons by 2020.

NATO members Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey have to date accepted deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons on their territories. But, membership in NATO does not require any state to accept nuclear deployments. For example Greece stopped hosting U.S. nuclear weapons in 2001. Let us take control of this fast-moving aircraft and, as an important step, remove the last foreign deployed nuclear weapons from the territory of another state. That would also be a step towards a new NATO defence policy not reliant on nuclear weapons.

Submitted by the Executive Committee of Mayors for Peace,

representing network of 1,937 mayors in 126 countries

Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan
Mr. Tomihisa Taue, Mayor of Nagasaki, Japan
Mr. Donald L. Plusquellic, Mayor of Akron, Ohio, USA; past President, U.S. Conference of Mayors
Mr. Leonardo Domenici, Mayor of Firenze, Italy
Mr. Bernd Strauch, Deputy Mayor of Hannover, Germany
Mr. Patrik Vankrunkelsven, Senator; former Mayor of Laakdal, Belgium
Ms. Catherine Margate, Mayor of Malakoff, France
Mr. Glynn Evans, Deputy Mayor of Manchester, UK
Mr. Luc Deheane, Mayor of Iepèr, Belgium

and Mayors of cities near European military bases where U.S. nuclear weapons are deployed:

Mr. Stefano Del Cont, Mayor of Aviano, Italy
Ms. Anna Giulia Guarneri, Mayor of Ghedi, Italy
Mr. Theo Kelchtermans, Mayor of Peer, Belgium
Ms. Dr. Joke W. Kersten, Mayor of Uden, The Netherlands
Mr. Heinz Onnertz, District Administrator, Kreis Vulkaneiffel, Germany
Mr. Vedat Karadag, Mayor of Incirlik, Turkey