France to maintain nuclear deterrence: Hollande

France to maintain nuclear deterrence: Hollande

HomeEuropeFrance Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:15PM

French President Francois Hollande says his country will maintain its “nuclear deterrence” in the face of “a dangerous world.”

Detailing France’s atomic arsenal for the first time, Hollande said Thursday that “the international context does not allow for any weakness… the era of nuclear deterrence is therefore not over.”

“In a dangerous world — and it is dangerous — France does not want to let down its guard,” he said during a visit to an air base in the southern city of Istres.

The president acknowledged that Paris is concerned about “the possibility of future state conflicts.”

Hollande also unveiled the make-up of France’s nuclear arsenal in a “transparency” drive by saying that the country had “less than 300” nuclear warheads, three sets of 16 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and 54 medium-range air-to-surface missiles.

Hollande’s speech is considered a further setback to a world without nuclear weapons that was promised by US President Barack Obama in 2009.

ICAN condemnation

The French branch of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) condemned the remarks, saying the speech was far from making the world a safer place.

Later in the day, ICAN France denounced “the hardening of the French nuclear deterrent doctrine.”

“This speech, instead of going in the direction of easing international tensions, contributes to creating the conditions for a less secure world,” it said in a statement.

In addition to France, seven other countries – Britain, China, Pakistan, India, the United States, Russia and North Korea – and the Israeli regime are confirmed or believed to possess nuclear weapons.

Israel has long defied calls to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is believed to have hundreds of nuclear warheads.

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