Monday, April 12, 1999 Published at 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Schröder support for strikes tested
Mr Schroder has called for his party to back him
Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has appealed to his party to support his firm stand on bombing Yugoslavia - and flatly rejected calls by left-wingers for an end to Nato's air assault.
But Mr Schröder argued that Germany had a special responsibility to stand firm against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic because of the nation's Nazi past.
The Nato attacks mark the first time that Germany's military has been drawn into combat against a sovereign country since World War II.
German Tornado jets are helping to attack Serb air defence radar systems and protect Nato bombers which have destroyed many military and strategic targets.
"We have a responsibility toward our allies in Nato," Mr Schröder said.
"We also have a responsibility toward the people of Kosovo who have become victims of the most gruesome human rights violations."
The chancellor's stand has provoked vocal objections from a minority in the party as well as the once thoroughly pacifist Greens, Mr Schröder's junior coalition partner.
A victory for the anti-war faction could have serious consequences for Nato's so far united front.
But the BBC's European Affairs correspondent William Horsley reports that outcome is unlikely as the anti-war movement in Germany has been more subdued than in some other member states of the alliance.
However there is considerable public unease that the policy is causing enormous damage to the Serbian economic infrastructure without as yet achieving its goal of rescuing Kosovo-Albanians persecuted by Serb forces.
The Kosovo crisis overshadowed a meeting originally called to install Mr Schröder as new party chairman.
The post fell vacant after the dramatic resignation last month of Oskar Lafontaine the party chairman and and finance minister.
Mr Lafontaine withdrew from politics after falling out with Mr Schröder because of the Chancellor's plans to abandon the left-wing economic policies which have alienated German business.