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Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 17:27 GMT
Discord over widening war
German special forces
Proposal for German deployment provoked a political crisis
Germany and France have warned against carrying out military strikes on countries outside Afghanistan in the US-led war on terrorism.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has expressed caution about the idea of committing German troops to a wider war, while French Defence Minister Alain Richard said action against Iraq or other countries was not necessary.

In a speech to parliament, Mr Schroeder said Germany was not "simply waiting to intervene" elsewhere in the world.

We will do what is necessary, but reserve ourselves the right to decide what is necessary

Chancellor Schroeder
Germany has committed nearly 4,000 troops to the military operation in Afghanistan, despite a rebellion by Green Party members in the governing coalition and some of Mr Shroeder's own backbenchers.

But he said that should not be taken as a sign that commitment would be made to a wider war.

"We will do what is necessary, but reserve for ourselves the right to decide what is necessary," he said.

Germany, he said, was not "simply waiting to intervene militarily elsewhere in the world, in countries such as Iraq or Somalia."

Gerhard Schroeder
Schroeder put government's future on the line
He said "great restraint" had to be shown in the search for new targets.

But he stressed that Germany would honour its obligations to the campaign against terrorism.

"We will do everything to make sure the anti-terror coalition stays solid," he said.

"But we should be careful about comments in magazines, newspapers, or from certain junior ministers, looking for new targets.

"We should be particularly careful about a discussion about new targets in the Middle East - more could blow up in our faces there than any of us realise," he said.

Wider targets

The chancellor's position was mirrored by French doubt over widening the war.

Speaking on a visit to Bulgaria on Wednesday, the French defence minister said: "There is no other nation whose leaders have been active accomplices of terrorist actions.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
Blair said there would be a second phase in the war

"So we do not believe that it is necessary to take military action against other sites."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, for his part, has refused to rule out targeting other countries believed to have links to global terrorism.

Mr Blair told parliament in London that there would be a "deliberative and considered" second phase of the war, "to take what action we can against international terrorism in all its forms".

The prime minister said the plan was supported by "everyone else in the international coalition".

The US has made clear it will not necessarily restrict its anti-terror campaign to Afghanistan.

Targets inside Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are seen as the most likely focus for US-led action.

The BBC's Rob Broomby
"This was Gerhard Schroeder's most testing debate so far"
See also:

08 Nov 01 | Middle East
Powell says Iraq may be next target
10 Oct 01 | Middle East
Arabs warn against wider attacks
20 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair targets world terrorism
18 Sep 01 | Media reports
Saddam tells West 'be wise'
19 Sep 01 | Europe
Germany backs military action
28 Nov 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Where next in anti-terror war
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