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German FM approves Turkey's missile request


09:50, November 22, 2012

BERLIN, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the country's ambassador to NATO on Wednesday to approve Turkey's official request for NATO patriot missiles to be stationed near Turkish-Syrian border to help defend it from attacks.

"I've told the German ambassador to accept the request, of course if the necessary conditions are met," Westerwelle said at the lower house of parliament, adding that rejecting the request would cause severe consequences for NATO.

The final decision on German troops' mission in Turkey must be approved in the parliament.

The Turkish government said in a statement in Ankara on Wednesday that "in face of the threats and risks posed to our national security by the ongoing crisis in Syria... it has been decided to formally request from NATO that our national air defense be reinforced with the support of allied air defense elements."

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement that NATO will discuss Turkey's request without delay.

"In its letter, the Turkish government stressed that the deployment will be defensive only, and that it will in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said it was up to Germany, the Netherlands and the United States that have Patriot missile systems to decide whether they can provide the missiles for deployment in Turkey and for how long.

During the 1991 Gulf war and 2003 Iraq war, Turkey had twice requested NATO for the deployment of Patriot missiles. In both cases, deployments were carried out by the Netherlands.

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