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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 21:47 GMT
Germany offers US military access
Defence Minister Peter Struck, Chancellor Schroeder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
Schroeder (centre) hopes there will be no need for war
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has agreed to allow the United States and other Nato countries to use its military bases and airspace in the event of war with Iraq.


We should not give the impression there is no longer any hope of implementing the UN resolution without resorting to war

Chancellor Schroeder
In his first response to a US request for help in military strikes last week, Mr Schroeder said allied forces would be able to move freely in and out of Germany.

But he stopped short of agreeing to allow German troops to take part in a conflict directly.

The chancellor warned against giving the impression that there was no hope of implementing United Nations resolutions on Iraq without resorting to war.

Mr Schroeder is trying to restore relations with Washington after fierce criticism of US policy towards Iraq during his recent election campaign.

But he is constrained by the difficulty of gaining the parliamentary approval necessary to send troops outside the Nato area with just a four-seat majority in the lower house, the Bundestag.

Guarantees

Germany is one of around 50 countries which the US asked for military help in a possible war on Iraq last Wednesday.

It is home to tens of thousands of US and Nato troops in more than 20 bases in the south and west.

Mr Schroeder said at a news conference that Germany would guarantee:

  • overflight rights for the US and other Nato member states that want them
  • smooth transit for troops of the US and the Nato members
  • use of US military installations in Germany by the US and the members.

But he ruled out any further help: "We do not intend to provide further resources beyond what I have said, and definitely no personnel," he said.

He also said that Fuchs armoured vehicles stationed in Kuwait - which are equipped to detect chemical, biological and nuclear contamination - could only be used as part of the US war on terror and not in military action against Iraq.

Israeli request

Earlier, Mr Schroeder agreed to sell defensive military systems to Israel, saying it was his country's "historic and moral duty".

The sale or lease of the Patriot systems could help Israel to prevent attacks from Iraq.

Israel first asked for the weapons more than a year ago, and has recently renewed its request against the background of rising tension over Iraq.

Mr Schroeder told Die Zeit newspaper he would be happy to help Israel with a system that is not used for attacks but as protection against incoming missiles.

In the last Gulf War, Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles into Israel.


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17 Sep 02 | Europe
07 Feb 02 | Middle East
09 Nov 02 | Europe
20 Nov 02 | Middle East
23 Sep 02 | Europe
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