German Nato contribution outstanding: Schroeder

6th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

6 May 2005, BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Thursday that Germany was making an "outstanding" contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), 50 years after the country joined the alliance.

6 May 2005

BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Thursday that Germany was making an "outstanding" contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), 50 years after the country joined the alliance.

In remarks published to mark the 6 May 1955 entry of then-West Germany into the Nato alliance, Schroeder also praised the presence of American forces in the country.

This was an expression of German-American friendship and remained of central importance in facing new security policy challenges, the Berlin leader said in remarks coming at a time when the US military is repositioning and cutting down its forces stationed in Germany.

Schroeder said Nato had played a decisive role in Germany's reunification, ending the Cold War and overcoming the division in Europe, while today it has a key role in international crisis management.

"Today, Europe must no longer fear a military attack on its borders," he said.

Schroeder also stressed that Germany's belonging to the security alliance had grown over time, and that the country was now making "an outstanding contribution to the alliance". Today more than 5,000 German forces are operating in Afghanistan and Germany is providing the largest troop contingent in Kosovo, he noted.

The German chancellor stirred controversy last winter when he complained about what he saw as inadequate political dialogue within Nato and proposed that the alliance set up a group of experts to draft ideas on improving the dialogue.

Those remarks were received coolly on the other side of the Atlantic, with the Bush administration saying Nato did have a good deal of dialogue.

In his remarks on Thursday, Schroeder welcomed the fact that Nato foreign ministers had taken up the issue of more intensive discussion in the alliance.

Germany's conservative political opposition used the 50th anniversary occasion to criticise the Schroeder-led government.

Friedbert Pflueger, foreign policy spokesman in parliament for the Christian Democratic Union, criticised Berlin for marking the anniversary without any "ceremonial expression". He said the Social Democrat-Greens government was keeping an "internal distance" towards Nato.

"Nobody owes Nato more than Germany does," Pflueger said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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