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Bonn Agrees to Send Troops to Somalia

April 21, 1993| Times staff writer

BONN — Chancellor Helmut Kohl's fragile coalition agreed Tuesday to a U.N. request for 1,600 German soldiers in Somalia but stressed that the armed troops would be used strictly for humanitarian work in "safe zones."

Nagging constitutional questions over united Germany's international military role have brought the center-right Bonn government to the brink of collapse in recent weeks, but the Somalia mission appears to have a yellow if not a green light.

Coalition party leaders concurred that the Somalia mission should proceed, and their decision is expected to get a rubber stamp today when it goes to the Cabinet and then to the Bundestag, or lower house of Parliament, for a three-hour debate.

Although the opposition Social Democrats said they consider the Somalia mission morally "correct," the party said it still may seek assurances from the nation's highest court that such deployment is legal under the anti-militarist constitution.

The Social Democrats planned to decide today whether to file suit in the Constitutional Court.

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