Germany to supply NATO arms for Libya strikes-media

Germany will supply bomb components and other military ordnance to aid NATO in Libya in a concession to allies after Berlin's controversial opposition to flying air strikes, Spiegel Online reported on Monday.

Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere has approved the measure, according to government sources cited by the online media, which would still mean Germany would not participate directly in any military action.

Spiegel Online said it was not clear what supplies Berlin would provide, but it said it could include complete rockets and high-tech guidance systems.

A spokesman from the defense ministry told Reuters that a request for supplies came from the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA), but declined to give details about the nature.

"The general willingness to provide support was signalled," he said.

Germany broke ranks with the United States, France and Britain and joined China, Russia, India and Brazil in abstaining on a United Nations vote authorising the use of force to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and protect civilians.

Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that European countries flying the bulk of the air strikes against Libya are stretched thin and will find the NATO-led mission increasingly painful unless other allies do more.

Berlin hopes that providing arms will be seen as a gesture that it wants to end its isolation following its decision, which earned heavy criticism in Germany as well, according to Spiegel Online.

[Source: Reuters, Berlin, 27Jun11]

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