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Germany Ready to Provide Anti-terror Troops - 2001-11-06

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says Germany is ready to provide up to 3,900 troops and other support to the U.S.-led war against terrorism. The offer of military help still requires parliamentary approval.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says the offer is in response to U.S. requests for specific help.

Germany would provide anti-atomic, biological and chemical warfare units, including German Fuchs sniffer tanks with 800 troops. Germany would also make available 250 airborne evacuation and rescue personnel, up to 100 troops from Germany's special forces for what he described as "hit and run" missions and 500 air transport personnel.

Chancellor Schroeder said he was also asking Parliament to make about 1,800 naval personnel available to protect shipping in the Gulf and off the Horn of Africa.

Mr. Schroeder said the United States has Germany's unlimited support. "I have always stressed," he said, "that German solidarity may involve us in military support. That is why the German government has agreed to meet the requests made by the United States."

But he said German troops would not be taking part in bombing raids, and would not be deployed on the ground at this time.

The Chancellor re-iterated that the war against terror will be a long drawn out affair, that should also include political and diplomatic efforts.

Parliament will be asked initially to make troops available for one year. But there is no time limit on Germany's participation, and Mr. Schroeder said Parliament could be asked to extend the mission, if the troops are still needed.