World Council of Churches urges NATO to remove all nuclear weapons from Europe

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and church organizations on both sides of the Atlantic are urging NATO to remove all United States nuclear weapons still based in Europe and end their role in the alliance’s policy. In a letter of March 16 to US President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, leaders of the church bodies argue that the 200 or so nuclear weapons involved are “remnants of Cold War strategies – NATO should rethink deterrence and security cooperation in Europe”, they say, and make good on NATO’s new commitment last year to “creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons”. Removal of the US weapons still stationed in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Turkey, the churches note, would reduce by one-third the number of countries that have nuclear weapons on their soil, to 9 from 14. The church organisations acted in anticipation of an important NATO nuclear policy review this year. That review and a NATO summit in 2012 present an “opportunity for change that is long overdue and widely anticipated,” their letters say. See: Churches engaged for nuclear arms control