Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2020-2021
An open letter from 56 former heads of state, foreign ministers and military secretaries—including those from 20 NATO member countries, and from Japan and South Korea—was issued Sept.19, 2020 urging the world’s current presidents and prime ministers to ratify the nuclear weapons treaty ban.
All the letter’s signers are from countries whose current heads of state have refused to embrace or promote the treaty. Among the signers are former leaders from Albania, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey.
Former prime ministers of Canada, Japan, Italy and Poland are among the 56 signatories, and two —Willy Claes of Belgium and Javier Solana of Spain—are former Secretaries General of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Under US diplomatic and economic pressure to increase military spending and to ignore treaty obligations, no current NATO member state has yet ratified the nuclear weapons ban.
Pointedly, signers of the letter include former leaders from the five NATO countries—Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey—that station and train to use a total of about 140 US nuclear bombs that in a nuclear war on Russia would be unleashed from their NATO bases. In all five countries, overwhelming public opinion favors the permanent removal of the US weapons, something the treaty ban would necessitate if the governments ratified the law.