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Far-Left German Party Urges New Security Alliance To Include Russia

The far-left German Linke party says NATO should be replaced by a new alliance that includes Russia.

In its draft program for the September 24 elections, the Linke (The Left) on April 3 also called for a ban on weapons exports and an end to German combat missions.

The party did not insist on withdrawing from NATO in its draft program. In the past, its call for Germany to pull out of the Western military alliance has helped to limit its popularity.

"Other parties always assume that leaving NATO is a red line for us, but that's a misrepresentation of our position. We're fighting for NATO to be replaced by a collective-security system that involves Russia," said Katja Kipping, co-chair of the party.

Linke has held talks about establishing an alliance with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green Party -- a three-way grouping that might have enough support for a majority in the lower house of parliament.

Polls show Linke with 8 percent support.

Kipping said the call to include Russia in a security alliance did not mean party members were "great fans" of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"[But] if you want peace in Europe, you need deescalation and cooperation with Russia," she said.

Linke said it would not join any government that goes to war and that German forces' current overseas foreign deployments should end.

Based on reporting by Reuters and