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|Tuesday, July 10, 2001, updated at 09:12(GMT+8)|
Schroeder Reiterates Determination to Join Macedonia MissionThe German government said Germany will take part in a possible NATO mission in Macedonia even without the agreement of German opposition parties.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in an interview with the Bild newspaper that the opposition parties should have "enough understanding" toward the planned mission.
"The CDU (the Christian Democratic Union) and the CSU (the Christian Social Union) must see that the issue is not about an obligation of the government, but one of Germany," he said.
In case that the opposition rejects the government decision, " the government will do its duty based on the majority in the parliament," Schroeder stressed.
Friedrich Merz, president of the CDU\CSU union in the parliament, said earlier that the opposition parties could see no basis for an agreement on a Macedonia-mission of the German Armed Forces, or Bundeswehr.
It is unclear so far which targets should be reached in the mission and how the finance issue of the troops in the mission could be resolved, Merz noted.
NATO has planned to send a 3,000-strong demilitarization force to Macedonia but said the prerequisites were that a lasting cease- fire had been declared and a political agreement reached among the parties in the Balkan nation.
Germany will take part in the mission with two to three companies or 400 to 500 man, German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping told World on Sunday, a German-language newspaper. The German soldiers would take the responsibilities of guarding headquarters and AWACS surveillance planes, he said.
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