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Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 10:17 GMT
Schroeder backs foreign minister
Joschka Fischer (L) and Gerhard Schroeder (R)
Joschka Fischer (left) has the German chancellor's support
The daughter of a notorious 1970s militant has called for charges of attempted murder to be brought against German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer - but Chancellor Schroeder has given Mr Fischer his backing.

In an open letter to Federal President Johannes Rau, Bettina Roehl, who is the daughter of the Red Army Faction leader Ulrike Meinhof, said there were initial grounds for suspecting Mr Fischer of the attempted murder of a police officer.

Mr Fischer has faced calls to resign after Stern magazine last week made revelations about his part in violent left-wing politics in the 1970s and published photographs of him attacking a police officer during a demonstration.

But on Monday, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder praised Mr Fischer's record as foreign minister and his openness about his past.

'Obsessed with violence'

In a 27-page letter to President Rau, Ms Roehl, who is a freelance journalist, called for Mr Fischer to face charges for the attempted murder of the police officer, Juergen Weber.

Mr Weber was seriously injured by a Molotov cocktail at a demonstration in 1976.

Ms Roehl wrote, "On the basis of all the known facts, I have concluded that Josef Martin Fischer was the leading figure in the violent group and also de facto helped organise violent groups acting in parallel."

She described Mr Fischer as, "non-political, apolitical, he was obsessed with violence."

She also indicated she knew many more details about Mr Fischer's past, which she had not yet revealed.

Schroeder lends support

Ms Roehl called on Chancellor Schroeder to take action over what she described as "an unbearable situation".

But on Monday, Chancellor Schroeder came out in support of his foreign minister.

"He has never tried to cover up what he did in his youth, and why should he?

"He has made clear where he stands and I think proven by his work that he is a really good representative of our foreign policy," said the Chancellor.

On Thursday Mr Fischer apologised for his involvement in violence and said his participation in street violence with police had been "a bad mistake".

Mr Fischer is to testify in the trial of his former acquaintance Hans-Joachim Klein, who is accused of helping Carlos the jackal kidnap Opec oil ministers in Vienna in 1975.

Despite the negative publicity, surveys suggest that the vast majority of Germans want Mr Fischer to stay in his job.

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See also:

17 Oct 00 | Europe
Jackal ally tried for Opec kidnap
01 Nov 00 | Europe
German court to quiz Jackal
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