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Friday, December 3, 2021

Germany will remain in NATO nuclear zone under new government

Social Democratic Party (SPD) main candidate for Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Green Party co-leaders Robert Habek and Annalena Baerbock and Free Democratic Party (FDP) leader Christian Lindner walk after the final round of coalition talks to form a new government in Berlin. , 24 November 2021 (Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters)

BERLIN. Under a coalition agreement agreed on Wednesday, Germany will remain a party to NATO’s nuclear-sharing agreement under the new government. This is a step that will prevent a split in the Western military alliance at a time of rising tensions with Russia.

Germany does not possess nuclear weapons, but it does have American nuclear bombs, which German Tornado fighters must carry on target during the conflict.

It was unclear how the new government would tackle the issue, as some lawmakers in the new coalition oppose Berlin’s involvement in a nuclear deal.

The coalition agreement supported Germany’s commitment to NATO.

“As long as nuclear weapons play a role in NATO’s Strategic Concept, Germany is interested in participating in strategic discussions and planning processes,” the document says, referring to Berlin’s place in NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group.

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The new coalition also aims to replace the aging German Air Force Tornado fighter, the only Bundeswehr aircraft capable of carrying US nuclear bombs.

The German Air Force has been flying jet aircraft since the 1980s. The Department of Defense plans to phase out it in stages between 2025 and 2030, as it is expensive to maintain and parts are difficult to find.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had intended to acquire Boeing-made F-18s as a replacement, but the decision was delayed until 2022.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last week that US nuclear weapons could be moved further east if Germany withdraws from the nuclear weapons sharing agreement – a move that will anger Russia.

The coalition agreement also included an agreement to arm the next generation of German military drones. Some Social Democrats have previously opposed this.

According to the coalition agreement, the indiscriminate evacuation from Afghanistan in August will be the subject of parliamentary scrutiny.

Sabine Siebold and Markus Wacket

Reuters

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