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Bonn Appoints Negotiator for Star Wars Data

December 17, 1985|Associated Press

BONN — Chancellor Helmut Kohl today named Economics Minister Martin Bangemann to lead negotiations aimed at giving West German companies full access to U.S. "Star Wars" research, the government press office said.

Kohl's government has said private companies are free to join the research into the program, officially known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. Bangemann will lead negotiations to ensure that Americans share their scientific research with the Germans, the press office said.

The unexpected announcement of Bangemann's appointment came a day before Kohl's Cabinet was to meet to formally approve negotiations over the defense program.

Kohl announced the appointment early because he expects the Cabinet on Wednesday to make a "clear decision without major conflicts," the press office said.

Coalition Partner

Bangemann is chairman of the liberal Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in Kohl's conservative-dominated coalition government.

Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, a Free Democrat, has indicated that his party and Kohl's Christian Democrats have reached a compromise on the issue. Genscher has expressed strong skepticism about the research program.

Critics in Bonn say West Germany's carefully developed ties with East Germany and other Soviet Bloc countries could be damaged by an accord to enter the program.

West Germany, militarily and economically the strongest U.S. ally in Europe, has been under steady Soviet Bloc pressure not to enter the Star Wars program.

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