War on Terror Merkel Demands Respect for International Law

German criticism of US policy: Interior Minister Schäuble warns against giving up fundamental rights in the fight against terror. And Chancellor Merkel says the ends do not justify the means.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for "tolerance and respect for other cultures" in the war on terror
DDP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for "tolerance and respect for other cultures" in the war on terror

According to the German government the fight against terrorism cannot be fought using military means alone. "Apart from determination and international unity, respect for international law, tolerance and respect for other cultures should be the maxims of our actions," Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement released on Monday to mark the fifth anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Islamic motivated terrorism can only be successfully fought, "if we encourage the democratic and economic development in the affected crisis regions and achieve more respect for human rights," the statement continued. The example of Afghanistan shows that in certain cases, the use of military force is unavoidable. However, even in the fight against terrorism, "the ends cannot be used to justify the means."

Merkel also called for international solidarity in the war on terror. Sept. 11 changed the world, which now faces asymmetrical threats, so that now more than ever "internal and external security cannot be separated from each other." These threats can only be faced together, and according to the Chancellor, the basis for this is the close cooperation with EU partners, the transatlantic alliance and the United Nations.

Germany's Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble warned against giving up basic rights in the war on terror. Speaking on Deutschlandradio Kultur he said that "if fundamental legal principles are suspended, then nothing is improved, things just get more difficult." He said that while al-Qaida must be combated resolutely, the principles of the constitutional state and international law cannot be defended by giving them up or partly suspending them. He added, "It is also not in the Americans' interest to do so."

Schäuble was also critical of the Iraq war. Referring to the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, he said: "We know now what most people already assumed, that there was no connection with Iraq." He said he thought the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was in itself correct, but that he was "doubtful" from the outset about the Iraq war because it resulted from a unilateral decision by the US. The Americans now realized that such "unilateral decisions" are wrong, he said. "We share a common destiny. We cannot be pleased if the Americans fail," he added.

The US ambassador to Germany William Timken called on Europeans to show more engagement in the war on terror. He told the Hannoversche Allgemeinen Zeitung that he expected America's allies to be more aware of the seriousness of the threat and to be more prepared to overcome it.

At the same time he defended the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the establishment of secret detention centers, saying that thousands of lives had been saved and that the terrorists have been on the run ever since.

smd/spiegel/ap

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