By RT News
Germanyâ€™s top diplomat has backed the suggestion of Social Democrat (SPD) leader and Chancellor hopeful Martin Schulz, who has pledged to rid his country of US nukes. Washington, meanwhile, is pressing ahead to modernize its nuclear stockpile.
Sigmar Gabriel’s remarks came at the end of his official visit to the US Wednesday.
â€œCertainly, I am convinced that it is important to finally talk again about the arms control and disarmament,â€ Gabriel told the DPA news agency, as quoted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
â€œThatâ€™s why I think that Martin Schulz’s words that in the end we need to get rid of the nuclear weapons in our country, are right.â€
Last week, Schulz, the SDP candidate for Chancellor, pledged to get rid of the US nukes if elected.
â€œAs German Chancellorâ€¦ I will champion for the withdrawal of the nuclear weapons stationed in Germany,â€ Schulz said in Trier addressing a campaign rally. â€œTrump wants nuclear armament. We reject it.â€
There are some 20 US B61 nukes stored at the Buechel Air Base in Germany, according to estimates by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
The issue of US nuclear weapons storage on German soil has been raised by top officials in the past. In 2009, then-German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the B61 stockpile in Germany was a â€œmilitary obsoleteâ€ and urged the US to remove the weapons.
Senior Russian officials have expressed similar attitudes toward the US’ â€œCold War relicsâ€ still deployed in Germany.
â€œAmerican nuclear weapons in Germany are relics of the Cold War, for a long time they do not serve the implementation of any practical tasks and are subject to being thrown down the dustbin of history,â€ Sergey Nechayev, chief of the Russian foreign ministryâ€™s department responsible for relations with Germany said in December 2016.
The US, meanwhile, is upgrading its B61 bombs, some 200 of which are stored in Europe. The non-nuclear assembly of the new B61-12 modification was successfully tested for the second time earlier this month.
It is expected to have significantly expanded capabilities, which might raise the likelihood of it being unleashed, according to politicians and military experts. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump proposed a $1 trillion program to modernize America’s nuclear arsenal, claiming the US had â€œfallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.â€
Earlier in August, Gabriel attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ruling party for following the â€œdictateâ€ of Trump and wanting to â€œdouble Germanyâ€™s military spending.â€
In March, the German Chancellor promised to do her best to increase spending on NATO, following Trumpâ€™s demand for member states to spend their â€œfair shareâ€ of 2 percent GDP on defense.
â€œAs opposed to the times of the East-West confrontation, those conflicts and wars are far more difficult to foresee and manage,â€ Gabriel wrote in an op-ed for the Rheinische Post newspaper. â€œThe question is: how do we respond? The answer by US President Donald Trump is to arm.â€
â€œWe have to spend more than â‚¬70 billion on arms per year upon Trumpâ€™s and Merkelâ€™s will,â€ Gabriel wrote, adding that it would not improve the situation anywhere. â€œEvery German soldier who is deployed overseas tells us that thereâ€™s no security and stability that can be reached through weapons or military force.â€Î¦
RT (Russia Today) creates news with an edge for viewers who want to Question More. RT covers stories overlooked by the mainstream media, provides alternative perspectives on current affairs, and acquaints international audiences with a Russian viewpoint on major global events. For more, click here. This article first appeared at RT News on August 30.