Former ambassador calls on Fischer to resign
6 April 2005, BERLIN - A retired German ambassador on Wednesday called on Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to resign over a series of affairs including a visa scandal and a row over cancelling death notices for German diplomats who were members of the Nazi party.
6 April 2005
BERLIN - A retired German ambassador on Wednesday called on Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to resign over a series of affairs including a visa scandal and a row over cancelling death notices for German diplomats who were members of the Nazi party.
Dietrich von Kyaw, who served in the key post of German ambassador to the European Union until 1999, said in a ZDF TV interview that the current crisis in Berlin's foreign ministry was Fischer's fault.
Fischer is at the centre of a scandal over the issuing of hundreds of thousands to visas to east Europeans from 2000 to 2003 under a radically liberalised visa programme.
Following widespread abuse by Ukrainians and other nationalities who came to Germany posing as tourists in order to work illegally, the programme was abruptly halted.
A parliamentary probe is investigating and Fischer has been summoned to testify on 25 April.
In a second controversy, Fischer in 2003 gave a secret order to stop publishing obituaries for German diplomats who had been members of the Nazi party.
The move came after a death notice for a diplomat whitewashed his role as a state prosecutor in Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia.
But Nazi party membership cannot be taken as meaning automatic guilt, as many newspaper commentaries have pointed out. Many now retired German diplomats joined the party when in their teens during the early 1940s.
More than 70 diplomats have signed a letter protesting Fischer's move to bar death notices.
"I can only state that (Fischer) has lost control of the foreign ministry and that he's leading the foreign ministry to its downfall," said von Kyaw, adding that if there was no other way out "then he should give up his job ... for the good of the ministry."
Earlier this week the current German ambassador to Switzerland, Frank Elbe, publicly criticised Fischer's handling of these issues in a letter published in the tabloid Bild.
Senior aides to Fischer have termed the move "unacceptable" and Elbe is widely expected to face disciplinary action.
Subject: German news