Sarkozy to launch nuclear vessel, announce defence cuts

The new vessel, called "The Terrible," will carry the latest generation of nuclear missiles capable of defending France against attack.

Sarkozy to launch nuclear vessel, announce defence cuts

Delivering a key-note speech later Friday in the major naval port of Cherbourg, President Nicolas Sarkozy will take part in the launch ceremony for the latest French nuclear submarine, which is part of the country's nuclear deterrent along with an airborne component.

The new vessel, called "The Terrible," will carry the latest generation of nuclear missiles capable of defending France against attack, but especially deterring such a move by a potential enemy.

But diplomatic sources here revealed that Sarkozy, while inaugurating the nuclear vessel, will also appeal for more efforts for an international effort to move towards nuclear disarmament.

The sources also indicated that the president is likely to announce a number of obligatory cuts in military spending because of a major budgetary problem.

The objectives of the military investment program cannot be met and there is a six billion euro shortage in the budget, which will translate into cuts in materiel and manpower.

These remarks were corroborated by French media which said Sarkozy will announce military and related civilian job cuts of some 51,000 personnel and that he will reduce the airborne nuclear deterrent by 30 percent, French weekly "Le Point" said in an article Friday.

This, in effect, would mean France would maintain 40 Mirage planes capable of carrying nuclear missiles instead of 60 at the present time and more modern Rafale planes would be brought into service.

France has already scaled back its submarine based nuclear arsenal and now maintains only four submarines in service and President Jacques Chirac decided after the end of the cold war in the mid-1990s to dismantle the land-based, nuclear, intercontinental system on the Albion Plateau in south-central France.

KUNA

Last Mod: 21 Mart 2008, 15:42
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