NATO Status May Be Out of Reach for a Nuclear-Free Scotland

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 15, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

The abil­ity of an in­de­pend­ent Scot­land to join NATO was thrown in­to doubt when top al­li­ance of­fi­cials told a Scot­tish del­eg­a­tion that no coun­try could achieve mem­ber­ship if  there were any un­re­solved mil­it­ary or ter­rit­ori­al dis­putes with an­oth­er NATO na­tion, the Lon­don Guard­i­an re­por­ted.

A team of Scot­tish civil ser­vants last month traveled to NATO headquar­ters in Brus­sels to broach the sub­ject of Scot­land join­ing NATO if its voters choose to leave the United King­dom in a ref­er­en­dum next year. The team ar­gued that an in­de­pend­ent Scot­land should be giv­en pref­er­en­tial treat­ment, as the new coun­try would have pre­vi­ously been a mem­ber of a found­ing mem­ber of NATO, the United King­dom, the news­pa­per re­por­ted.

Art­icle 10 of the NATO treaty stip­u­lates that a na­tion seek­ing ad­mit­tance to the group must demon­strate a his­tory of stable de­fense policies and struc­tures, as well as the un­der­stand­ing that every na­tion in the group must ac­cept a nuc­le­ar first-strike policy, ac­cord­ing to the Guard­i­an.

The main obstacle to Scot­land’s join­ing NATO arises out of its rul­ing party’s de­sire to re­move nuc­le­ar war­heads from Tri­dent D-5 mis­siles de­ployed on sub­mar­ines por­ted at the Roy­al Nav­al Base Clyde.

The Scot­tish Na­tion­al Party in March ap­proved a stip­u­la­tion for Scot­land’s con­sti­tu­tion that the “hous­ing, basing and pos­ses­sion” of nuc­le­ar arms would be banned. That led to U.K. de­bate last month over the idea of de­clar­ing the Tri­dent nuc­le­ar sub­mar­ine base sov­er­eign ter­rit­ory, should Scot­tish voters de­cide to be­come in­de­pend­ent of Lon­don.

An in­de­pend­ent study re­leased in June con­cluded that Scot­land would most likely have to choose between the re­mov­al of Brit­ish nuc­le­ar weapons or NATO mem­ber­ship.

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