Germany may need own nuclear weapons: Scholz

26th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

26 January 2006, BERLIN - Germany may need to build its own nuclear weapons to counter the threat of nuclear bombs falling into the hands of a terrorist state, a former German defence minister said Thursday.

26 January 2006

BERLIN - Germany may need to build its own nuclear weapons to counter the threat of nuclear bombs falling into the hands of a terrorist state, a former German defence minister said Thursday.

"We need a serious discussion over how we can react to a nuclear threat by a terrorist state in an appropriate manner - and in extreme cases with our own nuclear weapons," said Rupert Scholz who served as defence minister from 1988 to 1989.

Germany does not have nuclear weapons and Scholz admitted in a Bild newspaper interview that his remarks were breaking what is widely seen as a national taboo.

Scholz - who is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) - said Berlin should first try to get binding guarantees from the NATO alliance that it would protect Germany in case nuclear threats were directed at the country.

But he insisted if such guarantees were not spelled out in a formal NATO doctrine, then Germany needed to ponder building its own nuclear deterrence system.

Such a move would clearly violate the 2+4 Treaty which paved the way for Germany's 1990 reunification by formally ending post-World War II occupation rights in the country for the US, the former USSR, Britain and France.

Under article three of the Treaty, Germany renounces "the manufacture and possession of and control over nuclear, biological and chemical weapons."

Rainer Stinner, a member of the opposition Free Democrats (FDP) in parliament, sharply criticized calls for German nuclear weapons.

"If we start questioning international treaties, what right do we have to demand that others adhere to them?" said Stinner, adding, "Germany's security would be reduced - not increased - through the possession of nuclear weapons."

Last week French President Jacques Chirac warned that France could use nuclear arms against state sponsors of terrorism against his country.

Chirac did not name any country but was widely seen to have been referring to Iran which is suspected of seeking to build nuclear weapons - an allegation strongly denied by Tehran.

DPA

Subject: German news

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