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Europe

NATO Discusses Nuclear Future

NATO defense ministers, who are meeting in Brussles Thursday, have responded to a call by German Defense Minister, Peter Struck, to review the "status of nuclear forces" in Europe.

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Struck questions the relevance of US nuclear weapons in Germany?

Last month, Struck said he wanted to bring up the issue of US nuclear weapons stationed in Germany with his partners at the military alliance.

When asked if one Germany would raise the issue of US nuclear arms on its territory, one NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "the meeting will address the status of nuclear forces."

"I'm not going to talk about details of what the discussions will be, but we are not expecting radical changes," the NATO official added.

In Berlin, a spokesman for the defense ministry declined to say if Struck would raise the issue but did say "I can imagine this subject will be talked about."

Confidential debate

Although a meeting of NATO's nuclear planning committee is not unusual, it has not met for 18 months. The committee brings together all NATO states except France, since Paris left the alliance's integrated command structure in 1966.

The committee members hold highly confidential debates about nuclear questions, generally consisting of presentations by the United States or Britain, the only NATO members on the committee with nuclear weapons.

About 95 percent of the nuclear weapons stationed in Europe have been withdrawn since the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

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