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German cabinet approves missile, troop deployment in Turkey

English.news.cn   2012-12-06 18:39:31            

BERLIN, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The German cabinet on Thursday agreed to participate in a NATO mission sending Patriot missiles and some 400 soldiers to Turkey to help the country cope with potential security threats from Syria.

"Turkey is currently the most-affected partner in the Syria conflict. It is exposed to a potential threat from Syria," the foreign and defense ministries said in a joint statement.

Turkey, a vocal opponent of the Syrian government, had asked NATO to reinforce its air defense facilities as the conflict between Syrian government and rebels pose a mounting threat to Turkish citizens living close to borders.

In October, several artillery shells from Syria struck a Turkish border town and killed five civilians.

NATO approved Turkey's request for Patriot missiles on Tuesday. The alliance said that Germany, the Netherlands and the United States would contribute the missile batteries, which will come under the command of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

The German ministries stressed the aid defense deployment in Turkey was "a purely defensive measure" aimed at preventing the Syrian conflict from spreading to Turkey and does not represent "the establishment of or monitoring of a no-fly-zone over Syrian territory."

The cabinet's decision still needs approval of the Bundestag, or the lower house of parliament, which is due to vote on the mandate early next week. Although there is some objection from opposition parties, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he expected "a broad majority" at the vote.

NATO had said that the deployment would start "within weeks" after member states finished their domestic legal processes.

The foreign and defense ministries said the suggested mandate would run until Jan. 31, 2014.

Editor: Fang Yang
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