Germany denies difference with France over use of nuclear weapons
Germany denied in Berlin Friday that it had any difference with France over the use of nuclear weapons, saying that Paris' position on the issue had been agreed with London and Berlin


Posted Saturday, January 21, 2006

  
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Germany denied in Berlin Friday that it had any difference with France over the use of nuclear weapons, saying that Paris' position on the issue had been agreed with London and Berlin.

"There is no doubt that France supports an agreed position on close accord with Britain and Germany in the EU-3 group," German government spokesman Thomas Steg told a news briefing, saying there was no any change in French nuclear strategy.

The comment came one day after French President Jacques Chirac said that France could respond with nuclear weapons to a state- sponsored terrorist attack.

"Nuclear deterrence ... is not aimed at dissuading fanatic terrorists," Chirac said in an address at the L'Ile-Longue nuclear submarine base in Brittany, northwestern France.

"Leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, just like anyone who would envisage using, in one way or another, arms of mass destruction, must understand that they would expose themselves to a firm and fitting response from us," he said, adding there should be no doubt "about our will and our capacity to use nuclear arms" if France's vital interests were threatened.

"The (French) president reiterated in that speech that the stated French nuclear doctrine has not changed in the respect that France does not regard nuclear arms as an instrument of warfare," Steg said, adding their function was deterrence.

He said that the German government has no doubt that France continues to stand by its international obligations.

Steg declined to regard Chirac's remarks as a hinted warning to Iran, which has resumed nuclear activities in defying the opposition of the international community.

Chirac's remarks, which have drawn criticism from many Germans, came on the background that Germany, Britain and France decided to refer Iran to the UN Security Council to face possible sanctions after the Islamic republic broke a deal it signed in more than two years ago in Paris with the three EU powers to halt nuclear activities.


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