Support in the fight against terrorism


Support in the fight against terrorism

The German government intends to provide military support for France in the fight against the so-called IS – in the fields of protection, reconnaissance and logistics, announced Federal Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. At the same time efforts are being made to achieve progress with a political process.

The frigate Sachsen F 219 sails into harbour.Germany is to support France in the fight against the IS with a frigate and Tornado reconnaissance jetsPhoto: BUndeswehr/Wolff

"Today the government has taken difficult, but important and necessary decisions," said Federal Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen following the extraordinary meeting of the CDU/CSU and SPD parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag in Berlin.

The support will take the form firstly of a German frigate to protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, said the minister. France is flying airstrikes from the aircraft carrier. Germany is also to make available a Franco-German satellite and Tornado reconnaissance aircraft to obtain a precise picture of the situation on the ground, Ursula von der Leyen continued. Logistical support will be provided in the form of aerial refuelling planes.

"We are already part of the coalition, because we are training and equipping the Peshmerga in northern Iraq. And within this coalition, we will now take the additional steps discussed today," explained the minister in a television interview.

Terrorism cannot be defeated with military campaigns alone

Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen are also working for a political solution. In the final analysis, terrorism cannot be defeated by military means alone, explained Frank-Walter Steinmeier. That is why the German government is convinced that a political process is necessary.

"But we will not be able to defeat IS, Al Nusra and other terrorism groups in Syria without a military campaign," he stressed. Ursula von der Leyen also made it quite clear that, "We also need military means to vanquish IS."

Solidarity with France

After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Germany pledged France its support in the fight against terrorism. Frank-Walter Steinmeier pointed out that the French President had asked for assistance during his meeting with the Chancellor.

"We not only expressed our sympathy. We also expressed our solidarity. It would not be a good sign if we, on the German side, failed to retain our credibility." And credibility, continued Frank-Walter Steinmeier, means "providing what we can and what we can justify politically".

Ursula von der Leyen stressed, "The barbarous IS attacks have struck at the very heart of France. But we all know that this inhuman savagery can at any time target us or other societies".

Legal basis

The German government sees the legal basis for this mission and the process of mandating in France’s right to self-defence, under the provisions of the UN Charter (Article 51), in conjunction with the call of the United Nations Security Council on all nations to take all necessary measures to fight the so-called IS in Syria (Resolution 2249 dated 20 November). The mission will take place within the framework of the mutual defence clause (Article 42(7)) of the Treaty on the European Union.

"We thus consider that we are on firm legal ground, also in terms of international law, with the support we are providing for France," explained Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The parliamentary process for the mandate required has been launched; the Cabinet will meet on Tuesday to this end.

The German Bundestag will then very soon receive a motion on which it will vote.

Friday, 27. November 2015

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