German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says American nuclear missiles must not be stationed in Germany, or anywhere in Europe, in Washington’s arms control debate with Moscow.
“The deployment of new medium-range missiles would meet with widespread resistance in Germany,” Maas said in an interview with German news agency dpa.
The US is set to quit the 30-year-old INF treaty with Russia, which has been preventing Washington from stationing such missiles in Europe. Both countries accuse each other of violating the treaty, and both deny any wrongdoing on their own part.
“By no means should Europe become the scene of a debate on weapons build-up,” Maas said.
Deploying nuclear weapons in response to supposed treaty violations is Cold War-era logic, the German diplomat believes.
“Nuclear armament is certainly the wrong answer,” he said. “The policy of the 80s does not help to answer the questions of today.”
The US is accusing Russia of building missiles prohibited by the INF treaty, while Moscow says American missile defense systems already stationed in Eastern Europe can easily be converted into offensive ballistic missile launchers.
In October, the US announced it would withdraw from the treaty unless Russia halts the alleged violations, and in December it gave Russia a 60-day deadline to comply. According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, Moscow was informed right away that the decision was final, and not an attempt to start a dialogue.
Russia has warned it would have to respond if American missiles are stationed in Europe, making any such sites potential targets.