[quote]Chirac threatens ‘terrorist’ states with nuclear attack
President Jacques Chirac for the first time on Thursday raised the threat of a nuclear response to states that launch “terrorist” attacks against France.
“Leaders of any state that uses terrorist means against us, as well as any that may be envisaging – in one way or another – using weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would be exposing themselves to a firm and appropriate response on our behalf,” he said.
“That response could be conventional, it could also be of another nature,” Chirac said in a clear reference to nuclear weapons during a visit to a French nuclear base in the northwestern region of Brittany.
Chirac said that France had configured its nuclear arsenal to be able to respond “flexibly and reactively” to any threat, by reducing the number of nuclear heads on certain missiles on board its submarines.
“Faced with a regional power, our choice is not between doing nothing an annihilating it,” Chirac said.
The French president did not single out any country by name. Nor did he say that France’s nuclear arsenal could be used against terrorist groups, as opposed to states, as is the case with the US nuclear doctrine changed under President George Bush.
Also in contrast to the United States, France has not developed so-called “mini-nukes” capable of striking specific military targets such as underground bunkers within a country. - AFP
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