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Germany calls for 'measured response'

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has given a cautious support
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has given a cautious support  


BERLIN, Germany -- Germany's President Johannes Rau has said that he does not expect the German army will take part in a military reponse to the terror attacks in the U.S.

"My impression is that it is not called for, rather what is required is support of a logistic nature," Rau said in an interview with German radio on Sunday.

Rau said the people responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington should be found and brought before a court.

"This is an attack on the whole of civilisation...Therefore we must react with civil means."

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German Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping has urged a "measured response" to the terrorist attacks.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer stresses that political responses should be considered alongside military action if existing conflicts were not to be heightened.

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On Wednesday, NATO invoked Article Five, its mutual defence clause, for the first time in its 52-year history.

The move was seen as opening the way for a possible collective response by the alliance, which includes Germany, to the attacks.

Scharping has said the first decisions about German participation in possible U.S. military retaliation would be made in the next few days.

The German government requires parliamentary approval each time it deploys troops outside the country, unlike most NATO members, whose governments have the final say.

Earlier on Sunday, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said Europe "will stand with America on this."

In an interview with CNN, Blair said he had spoken to French President Jacques Chirac on Saturday, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Arab leaders.

He said he also been involved in recent days in talks with his Swedish, Spanish, Irish and German counterparts.

Blair, supporting President George W. Bush's claim that war had been declared, said: "I think the whole of the civilised world will stand together…I can assure you, I think, that whole of Europe will stand with America on this.

"People know that what happened was not just aimed at America, it was aimed at all of us."

He added: "I think that support will be there not just because of people's sense of horror and outrage at what has happened but also because of their realisation that unless we take action we are all at risk.

"So it is right for reasons of justice but it is also right for reasons of self-protection."

On Wednesday Blair will fly to Berlin for talks with Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

French President Jacques Chirac has told CNN: "When it comes to punishing this murderous folly, France will be at the side of the United States."

On Saturday, Spain's Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar reiterated Spain's support of the U.S.

Aznar expressed "solidarity with the United States" in a telephone conversation with the American president, hours after he visited the U.S embassy and signed in the condolescence book for the victims.

But despite NATO's invocation of Article Five, there is unease among some European politicians.

Alain Richard, the French defence minister, said the NATO move was a "political declaration" and refused to use the word war to describe the attacks on the U.S.

Germany's Scharping also insisted: "We do not face a war."

CNN's European Political Editor Robin Oakley said: "No allies are likely to oppose a U.S. strikeback against known terrorists who have been linked to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

"Where differences may emerge among potential allies is over the treatment of countries suspected of harbouring terrorists."







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