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Germany's Kohl Opens Verbal Attack on Iraq

January 23, 1991|From Times Wire Services

BONN — Chancellor Helmut Kohl, stung by mounting criticism of Germany's attitude toward the Persian Gulf crisis, today loosed a broadside of criticism against Iraq, reiterated his full support for the U.S.-led war and pledged substantial new financial aid for it.

But he stressed that Germany's constitution forbids deployment of military troops overseas and remained vague about the role German forces would play in case of an Iraqi attack against fellow NATO member Turkey, where 220 German troops are deployed.

At a hastily arranged news conference, Kohl announced that Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Economic Cooperation Minister Carl-Dieter Spranger will travel to Israel in a few days to show "the solidarity between Germany and Israel."

"The federal government will take this opportunity to put immediate humanitarian aid worth $165 million at the disposal of the Israeli government," Kohl said.

Kohl also confirmed that the government, which has already pledged $2 billion, will give "substantial" new financial aid toward the war effort. He said the precise amount remains under discussion but that the additional expense could require a tax increase.

Kohl's center-right government won a landslide election in December after promising not to raise taxes to pay for German unity.

In his strongest statement to date on the gulf crisis, Kohl described the Iraqi air raids on Israel as a "brutal act of terror" and denounced Iraq's "barbaric" treatment of prisoners of war.

"In this fight of the international community for the re-establishment of peace and justice, we are in solidarity with our partners and allies. Their armed forces carry the main burden. Our American, British, French and Italian friends should know: We support you and will also do so in the future," Kohl said.

"They are fighting against a dictator who has no scruples so that we all--including we Germans--can live tomorrow in a more peaceful world."

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