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Germany Won't Block NATO Deployment In Iraq

Munich, 7 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer today said Germany will not object to a possible deployment of NATO troops in Iraq, but remains opposed to sending its own soldiers.

Speaking at a conference of NATO ministers and defense experts in Munich, Fischer said the German government will not stand in the way of a consensus if NATO decides to join peacekeeping efforts in Iraq. But he said that Germany remains "unconvinced" of the validity of the reasons for the U.S.-led war there.

Addressing the Middle East, Fischer called on the United States, Canada, and Europe to work together to assist the peace process. He added that economic development is one of the central goals for the region.

The Munich conference is expected to debate the situation in the Middle East, the expansion of NATO forces in Afghanistan, and the future of ties between the United States and Europe following last year's disagreement over the Iraq war.