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German Greens want last nuclear weapons withdrawn - document

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Greens want the next coalition government to push for the removal of all nuclear warheads stationed in Germany, a document seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday.

The plenary hall of the German lower house of Parliament, Bundestag, is seen during the first plenary session after a general election in Berlin, Germany, October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

The Greens are holding exploratory discussions with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) with the goal of forming a three-way governing alliance after an election in September.

The discussion paper on defence and foreign policy did not mention the United States, which is believed to have 20 nuclear warheads at a military base in Buechel in western Germany, according to unofficial estimates.

The Greens’ demands were highlighted in the document to make clear that their position was shared by neither Merkel’s conservative bloc nor the FDP.

Merkel is trying to secure a fourth term through an unlikely coalition with the Greens and FDP after her conservative bloc lost support to the far-right in the election.

NATO member Germany is not a nuclear power and in 2011 a Merkel-led government announced plans to shut all nuclear reactors by 2022 after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

“Within NATO, we want to ensure that the remaining nuclear weapons in Germany are withdrawn and we want to suspend the modernization programme,” read the section stating the Greens’ position.

The three parties agreed however they would launch a diplomatic offensive pushing for nuclear disarmament.

Before leaving office former U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to modernize nuclear bombs, delivery systems and laboratories. His successor, Donald Trump, has said he wants to strengthen and expand his country’s nuclear capability.

The conservatives, Greens and FDP are hoping to end exploratory discussions on Thursday and move on to proper negotiations on forming a government.

They remain divided on several key issues, including immigration, reforming the euro zone and climate policy.

Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by James Dalgleish