German Defense Minister Peter Struck said Friday he planned to broach the subject of a withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from German soil at NATO. "I agree with Foreign Minister (Joschka) Fischer that we should take up this issue in NATO committees," Struck said during a visit to the US air base Ramstein in western Germany. When asked whether he backed calls by members of the ruling coalition for a total withdrawal of the US weapons, Struck said: "We will have to discuss that with the other European allies that also still have nuclear weapons stationed." During an international conference in New York this week to
review the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), Fischer said that calls from his Greens party and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats for a removal of all US nuclear weapons stationed in Germany were "a reasonable initiative." Struck noted that "95 percent of the nuclear weapons stationed in Europe were withdrawn after the fall of the Berlin Wall" in 1989. The only US nuclear weapons remaining in Europe are those that can be transported by aircraft. US short-range missiles, cruise missiles and nuclear submarines have been withdrawn, according to German sources. An estimated 150 atomic weapons are stationed on German soil out of a total of about 480 in Europe. In a case of self-defense after a nuclear attack, they would be carried by German Tornado jets under current pacts.