The decision to send German troops to assist in the US-led campaign against terrorism has sparked dissent in the ruling coalition.
The decision to send German troops to assist in the US-led campaign against terrorism has opened a rift with Schröder’s junior coalition partner - the traditionally pacifist Green Party.
It may be more than they can swallow. Top members have called for a halt to the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Several Green deputies have said they will vote against it.
The German foreign minister and most prominent Green Party member, Joschka Fischer, firmly supports the military mission.
He has warned that the future of the ruling Red- Green coalition government depends on agreement on the issue.
The newspaper "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" quoted him as saying that he would leave the party if it failed to back the mission.
Speaking in front of the German parliament on Thursday, Fischer spoke of the most difficult decision-making process in the Bundestag’s history. He expressed his understanding for scruples some might have in sending troops, but said that the American people had been attacked, not the other way round.
The German parliament will vote on the military mission in the coming week. Despite the internal rangling, the government is confident that the Red-Green coalition – which has a majority of 16 in parliament – will hold.