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Military

Germany withdraws from NATO operations in Mediterranean Sea

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Mar 23, IRNA -- The German government has pulled out its military forces from all NATO missions in the Mediterranean Sea as a result of the western military alliance's involvement in the Libyan conflict, the German press reported Tuesday.

A defense ministry spokesman confirmed to the German Press Agency dpa that two frigates and two ships comprised of a total of 550 soldiers would be put again under German command.

In addition, some 60 to 70 German soldiers, taking part in NATO's AWACS reconnaissance missions over the Mediterranean Sea will also be withdrawn as the western military pact has begun a naval operation to enforce the UN Security Council arms embargo against Libya.

Germany abstained in last week's UN Security Council vote to create a no-fly zone over Libya, but has said it will indirectly support the operation by helping more in Afghanistan, thus freeing up allied forces there to move to the Mediterranean.

Berlin is also allowing the US to use its 22 military bases in Germany for an attack on Libya.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced strong opposition to the idea of a military intervention in Libya and has repeatedly called for a peaceful solution to the conflict ahead this weekend's key regional elections in her country.

OT**1771
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30308219



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