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Germany

Germany extends three of its foreign military deployments

German troops deployed with European Union forces in Bosnia and off the coast of Somalia will continue their mission for another year. The government will also extend its role in a NATO mission in the Mediterranean.

German marines

German marines are helping fight piracy off the Horn of Africa

The German government has decided to extend three military operations abroad, promising to supply up to 3,000 soldiers in three separate international missions.

In the biggest such mission, German marines will continue their involvement in the European Union's anti-piracy operation. The so-called "Atalanta Mission" targets Somali pirates threatening ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, one of the most important trade routes between Asia and Europe.

There are currently 320 German marines participating in the operation off the Horn of Africa. Germany may now deploy a maximum of 1,400 troops in the mission.

Marines in the Mediterranean

The Bremen

The German Frigate Bremen will be sent to the Mediterranean

At present there are no German troops actively participating in NATO's "Active Endeavour" operation in the Mediterranean.

However, this week, the German frigate Bremen will be sent to the area to make its contribution to the anti-terror mission.

The NATO operation, first devised after the September 11 attacks on the United States, is designed to prevent terrorists from crossing the Mediterranean into Europe.

The German cabinet has agreed to maintain its pledge of 700 German troops for the mission.

Bosnian peacekeepers

Meanwhile there are currently 115 German peacekeeping soldiers stationed in Bosnia. The cabinet agreed to maintain the maximum number of German troops taking part in the EU mission in the country at 900.

Although the situation in Bosnia is relatively stable, the UN Security Council has asked the European Union to continue its mandate in the country until the peace treaty agreed in 1995 is fully put in place.

The decision reached by Chancellor Angela Merkel and her cabinet on Wednesday still requires parliamentary approval.

Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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