foreign minister

Annalena Baerbock: “We wouldn’t get in the way.”


(Photo: dpa)

Sedan There is movement in the debate on the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine: Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on French television on Sunday that Germany would not block the export of Leopard tanks from third countries to Ukraine.

“At the moment the question has not been asked yet, but if we were asked, we would not get in the way,” the Green politician told LCI television. They had asked him what would happen if Poland delivered Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, on the other hand, did not want to commit to the Franco-German Council of Ministers on whether Germany and France would supply tanks to Ukraine.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had previously announced that he would hand over leopards to Ukraine if necessary without German consent. He told the PAP news agency: “We will not stand by and watch Ukraine bleed to death. Ukraine and Europe will win this war, with or without Germany.”

If there is no early agreement with Germany, Poland will form a “smaller coalition” with other countries. These countries would then start supplying some of their Leopard tanks to the Ukraine without German approval.

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The federal government has not yet made a decision on the delivery of German main battle tanks to Ukraine. It has also not issued any delivery permits to other countries for tanks produced in Germany.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Sunday night on the ARD “Anne Will” program that the careful coordination process with partners is ongoing. SPD leader Lars Klingbeil noted the support already given to Ukraine.

Mützenich: “The criticism was immeasurable”

Other prominent SPD representatives also backed the chancellor. Statements by coalition members in recent weeks about the chancellor have undermined the federal government’s policies, SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich said Sunday evening in the ZDF’s “heute journal”. “I held back for a long time, but I found this criticism over the weekend, especially from a colleague who is after all the chairman of the Defense Committee, excessive.”

FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann publicly attacked Scholz harshly. She described the Chancellor’s communication on the tank issue as a “disaster”.

Mützenich then warned against a gasp policy. He said on ZDF: “The Chancellor bears the responsibility and not those who tweet day after day and give some advice. I think the Federal Chancellor also performs his duties very clearly, but also in a very balanced way.”

However, Scholz and the SPD also came under pressure from the other coalition partner, the Greens. “I think a decision that has been a long time coming needs to be speeded up,” Green Party leader Omid Nouripour told ARD.

>> Read also: “Useless” and “disappointing”: Frustration with Germany’s no to tanks

The deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group, Dirk Wiese, defended Scholz. He told the Rheinische Post: “Within the traffic light coalition, we are working together in a constructive and coordinated way under the leadership of Chancellor Olaf Scholz on this challenging situation. However, one should not overestimate individual deviations either.” Wiese added: “Rather, one should now keep one’s nerves and not make decisions on the basis of intuition.”

The opposition sees traffic lights in the separation process

CDU Chairman Friedrich Merz accused Scholz in the ARD that with his speech in Paris he missed the opportunity to make a concrete Franco-German proposal for the next few days on tank deliveries to Ukraine. Scholz explains his position too little, which also generates a lot of misunderstanding in France.

The first parliamentary secretary of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Thorsten Frei, sees the break in the coalition. “The scenes currently taking place in the traffic light coalition are reminiscent of divorce proceedings,” Frei told “Bild”.

CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen told the newspaper: “FDP and the Greens must ask themselves if they are prepared to take responsibility for this failure against their own convictions.” The blocking of the alliance by Scholz and the SPD means “that Germany in a historic test of war in Europe failed at a crucial point.”

More: Current developments in the Ukrainian war can be found on our news blog.

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