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Foreign Minister Wants US Nukes out of Germany

Spiegel Online 10 April 2009

… US President Barack Obama’s recent calls for “a world without nuclear weapons” may have been slammed by some critics as dangerously naive. But it has prompted German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to come up with his own, more achievable goal: a Germany without American nuclear weapons.

“These weapons are militarily obsolete today,” Steinmeier told SPIEGEL, explaining that he would take steps to ensure that the remaining US warheads “are removed from Germany.” …

With his remarks, Steinmeier, who is the center-left Social Democratic Party’s official candidate for chancellor in September general elections, is taking the opposite stance from Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German leader told the German parliament, the Bundestag, shortly before the recent NATO summit, that the German government still fully supported the NATO doctrine of “nuclear sharing,” whereby non-nuclear states such as Germany host third-party nukes in order to get more say in decision-making. ..


US to attend group nuclear talks with Iran

Associated Press
By Matthew Lee – 8 April 2009

The Obama administration said Wednesday it will participate directly in group talks with Iran over its suspect nuclear program, another significant shift from President George W. Bush’s policy toward a nation he labeled part of an axis of evil. …

“If Iran accepts, we hope this will be the occasion to seriously engage Iran on how to break the logjam of recent years and work in a cooperative manner to resolve the outstanding international concerns about its nuclear program,” …

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s hard-line president, said that his country “welcomes a hand extended to it should it really and truly be based on honesty, justice and respect.” …

The United States and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and subsequent hostage taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. …


Gates to cut several major weapons programs

The Associated Press
Washington: 6 April 2009

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday recommended halting production of the F-22 fighter jet and scrapping a new helicopter for the president as he outlined deep cuts to many of the military’s biggest weapons programs. Gates said his $534 billion budget proposal represents a “fundamental overhaul” in defense acquisition and reflects a shift in priorities from fighting conventional wars to the newer threats U.S. forces face from insurgents in places such as Afghanistan. …

The promised emphasis on budget paring is a reversal from the Bush years, which included a doubling of the Pentagon’s spending since 2001. …

Plans to build a shield to defend against missile attacks by rogue states would also be scaled back. …


Pentagon Weighs Cuts and Revisions of Weapons

New York Times – United States
By Christopher Drew: April 3, 2009

The Army’s expensive Future Combat Systems is likely to be cut back. So are exotic missile defense programs. But the supersonic F-22 fighter jet might survive. And problems with both old and new aircraft carriers could eventually lead to at least a temporary reduction in the number of carrier battle groups.

These are the consensus expectations of worried defense executives and consultants about the sweeping changes in military programs that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to announce on Monday.

The decisions are expected to be the first step in a broad reshaping of the military under the Obama administration. …


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Gorbachev blasts NATO eastward expansion

RIA Novosti – 2 April 2009

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has criticized NATO’s eastward expansion and the failure by Western powers to keep their promise not to deploy military bases near Russia’s borders.

Gorbachev said in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper published on Thursday that Western Germany, the United States and other powers had pledged after Germany’s reunification in 1990 that “NATO would not move a centimeter to the east.” …

NATO has enlarged since 1999, admitting three ex-Soviet Baltic republics and four Communist-bloc states in Eastern Europe. The membership was more recently increased on Wednesday, when Albania and Croatia formally joined the alliance.

The expansion has strained relations between the West and Russia, which is concerned by the new military bases emerging along its borders. …


Joint Statement by Obama and Medvedev on Nuclear Issues

from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation – April 2009

On April 1, 2009, President Barack Obama of the United States and President Dmitriy Medvedev of Russia issued a joint statement outlining plans for increased cooperation on a number of key international issues, including nuclear disarmament.

Their statement read in part, “We committed our two countries to achieving a nuclear free world, while recognizing that this long-term goal will require a new emphasis on arms control and conflict resolution measures, and their full implementation by all concerned nations.”

To read the full statement, visit: http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2009/04/01_obama_medvedev_statement.php

Obama, Medvedev delicately tackle missile defense

By Sam Youngman
Posted: 1 April 2009
The Hill – Washington, DC, USA

President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that they want to reach a deal on a new treaty on strategic arms, but tiptoed around the controversial issue of missile defense. …

“We are resolved to work together to “strengthen strategic stability, international security and jointly meet contemporary global challenges, while also addressing disagreements openly and honestly in a spirit of mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s perspective.”

On the contentious issue of U.S. plans to put a missile defense system in Europe, the two presidents acknowledged they have their differences …


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