Merkel dismisses U.S. request for more military help against Islamic State

Merkel dismisses U.S. request for more military assist against Islamic State

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday brushed off what a Germany magazine said was a request from the United States to provide more military assist in the fight against Islamic State.

"I believe Germany is fulfilling its part & we don't need to talk approximately new issues related to this question at the moment," Merkel told the ZDF broadcaster when asked approximately the Der Spiegel magazine report of the U.S. request.

Der Spiegel reported on Saturday that U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter had sent a letter asking for a bigger military contribution from Germany, a week after parliament approved a plan to join the campaign in Syria.

A German Defence Ministry spokesman confirmed a letter had been received from the United States & its content was under consideration, giving no further details.

Der Spiegel said the letter did not make specific demands & was similar to requests sent to other U.S. partners.

Germany's mission includes six Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate to protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, refuelling aircraft & up to 1,200 troops.

The deployment is a direct response to a French appeal for solidarity after militant attacks in Paris killed 130 people. Germany does not plan to carry out air strikes in Syria.

Germany has over the past two years shown a growing readiness to commit troops to foreign missions.

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last week Germany might need bigger armed forces to cope with the more assertive role.

More than 3,000 personnel are currently deployed overseas & the Syria mission will raise that by up to 1,200. Von der Leyen moreover wants to send 650 troops to Mali to assist the French campaign against Islamist militants there.

Germany last year started arming Iraqi Kurds fighting Islamic State.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: “Reuters”