Germany to use troops for homeland missions

24th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 October 2006, Berlin (dpa) - In a move likely to fuel controversy, German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung called Tuesday for troops to be deployed on homeland anti-terror missions. Germany has strict constitutional limits for deploying its armed forces on domestic missions - a reaction to massive abuses under the Nazi Third Reich - and Jung's plans could require a change to the constitution. Jung, in a speech to a security conference, said the difference between internal and external security was now

24 October 2006

Berlin (dpa) - In a move likely to fuel controversy, German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung called Tuesday for troops to be deployed on homeland anti-terror missions.

Germany has strict constitutional limits for deploying its armed forces on domestic missions - a reaction to massive abuses under the Nazi Third Reich - and Jung's plans could require a change to the constitution.

Jung, in a speech to a security conference, said the difference between internal and external security was now so fluid that both elements had to be better "interlocked".

"The German armed forces must be deployed for domestic missions in cases where it is the only body with necessary capabilities," said Jung according to an advance text of his speech.

Germany's government is due on Wednesday to approve a new white paper on the future of the Bundeswehr, the combined armed forces.

There are presently 247,000 troops in the Bundeswehr and about 10,000 are serving on missions in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and the Balkans.

Jung underlined that Chancellor Angela Merkel's government viewed the transatlantic alliance with the United States and NATO at its central security pillar.

"A close and trusting relationship to the US is of paramount importance for Germany's security in the 21st century," said Jung.

Merkel, who came to power a year ago, has made strong efforts to improve ties with the US which were damaged by bitter battles between former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and US President George W Bush over the Iraq war.

While also calling for European Union capabilities to be built up in the security sphere, Jung stressed that the EU and NATO must not be allowed to enter into any kind of competition.

He said forging better strategic ties between the US and the EU would be on the agenda for Germany's EU presidency during the first half of 2007.

"The German government is going to make efforts to improve relations between both organizations," Jung said.

Meanwhile, a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper said Germany and France were in disagreement over further expanding the role of NATO.

Berlin wants to give NATO more power to get involved in civilian rebuilding tasks but Paris is strongly opposed and wants to reserve such missions for the EU.

The issue is expected to be debated at NATO's summit in Riga, Latvia next month.

DPA

Subject: German news

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