Steinmeier rejects German spies allegations

19th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 January 2006, CAIRO - Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier again rejected allegations that the Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) agents were involved in helping target US bombs during the Iraq war.

19 January 2006

CAIRO - Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier again rejected allegations that the Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) agents were involved in helping target US bombs during the Iraq war.

"There is nothing to the accusations," said Steinmeier on Thursday in an interview with ZDF television on the sidelines of talks in Cairo.

Media reports in Germany and the US, citing unnamed sources, allege German agents passed on key information to US intelligence, including a report which led to an attack on a restaurant where Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was believed to have been dining.

There is no basis for the "assumptions" made in the media reports, said the foreign minister.

Steinmeier, who was then chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's chief-of-staff and intelligence services coordinator, said he knew of the presence of BND agents in Baghdad and has already publicly said so.

Schroeder's government fiercely opposed the 2003 Iraq war.

Both the BND and Steinmeier have rejected the allegations and insist that the only information German agents may have passed on to the US was details over sites to be avoided by bombers such as hospitals and schools.

Steinmeier said he will make it very clear at a parliamentary debate in Berlin on Friday that there were no contradictions between the decision to oppose the war and the fulfilment of allied obligations.

The assignment of agents was part of a decision "which we reached with the Greens over the deployment of German soldiers in Iraq."

Asked if he feels a formal parliamentary inquiry into the allegations is justified, Steinmeier answered: "I am not at all of this opinion."

DPA

Subject: German news

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