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Germany

Germany in Brief

German economics minister says EU deficit rules are flexible in case of war in Iraq, German Embassy staff in Israel can leave the country and Germany examines a U.S. extradition request for an al-Qaeda suspect.

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Wolfgang Clement, German Minister for Economy and Labor

Germany Says EU Deficit Rules Flexible

The European Union's limits on public deficits can be loosened in exceptional circumstances, such as a war in Iraq, German Economy and Labor Minister Wolfgang Clement said on Friday. Under the stability pact governing the euro, the 12 euro-zone members are not allowed to run up public deficits in excess of 3 percent of gross domestic product. Germany is having trouble bringing down its public deficit, which breached the limit last year and could do so again this year.

German Embassy Staff Can Leave Israel

The German Embassy in Israel has authorized the families of its staff to leave the country if they wish, amid increasing tension over a possible war on Iraq, the Foreign Ministry said Friday. The German government will cover all travel expenses.

Extradition Request For Terror Suspect Studied

A German court is examining a U.S. request for the extradition of a Yemeni who was arrested in Germany last month on suspicion of being a senior member of the al Qaeda terror organization. Mohammad Ali Hassan Sheikh al-Moayad and his assistant Yahya Zayed were arrested at Frankfurt airport on Jan. 10. According to German media reports, Moayad was an alleged finance chief for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda is blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in Washington and New York. Germany is regarded as having been a rear base for the suicide hijackers, three of whom lived in the northern city of Hamburg.

Compiled from wire reports