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Germans told 'leave Iraq'

Germany's politicians and public are against war in Iraq.
Germany's politicians and public are against war in Iraq.

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BERLIN (CNN) -- The German Foreign Ministry is urging Germans to leave Iraq as President Bush's "coalition of the willing" continues preparations for war.

A ministry spokesman said Sunday that the German embassy staff in Baghdad would help make arrangements for any Germans who wish to leave.

The German charges d'affaires is expected the leave Iraq for Amman, Jordan, and close the embassy within the next three days, the spokesman said.

A foreign ministry statement said: "Germans in Iraq are being called to leave the country immediately."

Fewer than 40 Germans were still in Iraq, among them several journalists, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

Germans in Iraq have been told for more than a month that they should be making preparations to leave the country.

The ministry did not say why the advisory was being upgraded but emphasized that the German government's efforts to work on a peaceful solution to the crisis in Iraq would continue.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Friday that Germany, France, Russia, China and the majority of the Security Council still believed Iraq could be disarmed peacefully and weapons inspections should go on.

But on Sunday, the U.S., UK and Spain -- the three cosponsors of a second U.N. Security Council resolution that could trigger war -- were meeting in the Azores to discuss their next move. ('Last push')

Their options include not going for a second resolution if they do not believe it will succeed, arguing it is not legally vital necessary before declaring war.

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