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Secretary General: UK's nuclear weapons important to Nato 

The SNP oppose nuclear weapons and have called for the removal of the Trident missile system.

Trident: Scottish Government want to scrap the 'deterrent'.
Trident: Scottish Government want to scrap the 'deterrent'.

The UK's nuclear weapons are important to Nato, its Secretary General has said, in response to the Scottish Government's desire to scrap the "deterrent".

With the SNP opposing nuclear weapons and calling for the removal of the Trident missile system from Scotland, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg argued that the world would not be safer if Nato members got rid of their nuclear arsenals.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would never use nuclear weapons and has called for the "immoral" Trident nuclear system - based on the Clyde - to be scrapped.

Asked on The Andrew Marr Show whether Britain would still be a valued member of Nato without nuclear weapons, Mr Stoltenberg said: "Britain is a highly valued member of Nato for many reasons.

"You spend more than 2% on defence, you provide a lot of valuable, high-end capabilities and you have shown again and again you are willing to deploy when needed.

"Part of the UK contribution to Nato is of course the UK nuclear weapons - the nuclear deterrent - which contributes to the overall nuclear deterrent of Nato, which is something that is important for Nato."

'I would not countenance their use and I look forward to the day where not just Scotland is free of nuclear weapons, but the world is free of nuclear weapons.'
Nicola Sturgeon.

Mr Stoltenberg, who was formerly the Norwegian prime minister, added: "Nato's goal is a world without nuclear weapons but we have to arrive there through viable, balanced nuclear arms control and disarmament.

"The world will not be safer if Nato got rid of all its nuclear weapons while countries like Russia, China, North Korea and other countries maintain their nuclear weapons.

"So yes, we would like to see a world without nuclear weapons but as long as there are nuclear weapons, Nato will remain a nuclear alliance."

Ms Sturgeon, asked during the General Election campaign about her stance on the issue, said: "I think nuclear weapons are immoral, I think they're ineffective and I think they're a waste of money.

"I would not countenance their use and I look forward to the day where not just Scotland is free of nuclear weapons, but the world is free of nuclear weapons."

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