Germany backs extension of anti-terrorism mandate

8th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

8 November 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet backed extending by a year Germany's support for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), the US-led global anti-terrorism deployment, but cut the number of personnel committed to 1,400 from 1,800. The German parliament is to debate and vote on the commitment on November 15. The Bundestag last month extended the separate mandate for 3,500 German troops stationed in northern Afghanistan and is certain to back the cabinet's decision on OEF. The OEF

8 November 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet backed extending by a year Germany's support for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), the US-led global anti-terrorism deployment, but cut the number of personnel committed to 1,400 from 1,800.

The German parliament is to debate and vote on the commitment on November 15.

The Bundestag last month extended the separate mandate for 3,500 German troops stationed in northern Afghanistan and is certain to back the cabinet's decision on OEF.

The OEF commitment includes a frigate and 248 marines deployed on the Horn of Africa, as well as a submarine with 53 troops stationed in the eastern Mediterranean.

The most controversial aspect is the commitment of 100 elite KSK special forces to assisting ground operations in Afghanistan. The KSK has not been deployed in this role since 2005.

US President George W Bush has expressed understanding for Germany's refusal to station troops in the troubled south of Afghanistan.

Speaking in an interview to be broadcast ahead of a private visit by Merkel to his ranch at Crawford in Texas at the end of this week, Bush described the German contribution in Afghanistan as "very helpful."

The US president said he would not try to pressure Merkel on the issue. In the past the US and NATO have called on Germany to lift its restrictions on the deployment of the troops so that they can assist with combat operations in the south.

In the interview with commercial broadcaster RTL, Bush said he was happy with US-German relations.

Relations were cool under Merkel's predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, who was a firm and outspoken opponent of the US invasion of Iraq.

Bush declined to support Germany's push for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Long-standing US policy was to back Japan's candidacy, he said.

Bush said the US valued Germany's support on Iran and Darfur.

RTL released excerpts of the interview translated into German ahead of broadcast early Thursday.

DPA

Subject: German news

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