Analysis

Published on December 6th, 2013 | by Wilbert van der Zeijden

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Lubbers, van Agt – Who’s next?

Former Prime Minister Van Agt confirmed on a radio programme Dit is Dag Wednesday that there are indeed nuclear weapons at Volkel.

This is the second former Prime Minster of the Netherlands to confirm the presence of nuclear weapons in the country in less than a week. The news is having a global impact, with stories appearing on BBC and the Canadian press among others.

What is the next step? More former heads of state confirming a public secret? Or, will these smart and brave men use this excellent opportunity to also call for a world free of these arcane weapons?

The Netherlands has the opportunity to demonstrate global leadership and hold true to its values as a democratic state based on the rule of law. The Dutch can call for negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons- outlawing the only weapon of mass destruction not globally prohibited. The Dutch can seize this moment of transparency to be accountable to the will of the public (87% of whom would prefer to see the Netherlands nuclear weapons free), and build towards an international legal prohibition on these indiscriminate, inhumane weapons of terror.

Of course, more officials confirming the public secret won’t hurt either.

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About the Author

Wilbert van der Zeijden is the senior researcher of the Security and DIsarmament team of PAX. Wilbert currently focusses on getting US nuclear weapons out of Europe; WMD out of the Middle East and your savings out of nuclear weapons producing companies. He graduated at the Vrije University in Amsterdam and previously worked for about nine years for the think-tank Transnational Institute, as their Peace and Security Programme coordinator. Wilbert’s research interests include humanitarian disarmament, NATO and European security, toxic legacies of war and developments in international military infrastructure.



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