Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher Friday urged NATO allies Friday to seek a reduction in short-range nuclear missiles, despite strident U.S. and British opposition.
For the second day, the nation's leaders appeared on a nationally televised parliamentary session to outline their position, which has strained the alliance. Italy, Belgium, Denmark and Norway have sided with Bonn in the growing rift. Most of NATO's short-range missiles are based in West Germany.A government spokesman, Hans Klein, said Dutch Premier Ruud Lubbers will visit Bonn on Wednesday for talks with Chancellor Helmut Kohl in an apparent bid to resolve the dispute before a NATO summit next month.
The Dutch government has expressed support for the U.S. and British position and has offered to mediate in the dispute.
"The West has no reason to be timid or to be concerned," Genscher said in his address. Rather, Genscher said, Western nations should have the confidence to pursue a course that would include short-range missiles among the various arms already under discussion among the superpowers.
"We must courageously and decisively make use of the new openness the Soviet Union is showing," said Genscher, a member of the detente-oriented, centrist Free Democratic Party. "We must close that hole in the disarmament chain."