Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Federal Government has pledged to support France in the fight against terrorism. Germany is to provide assistance in the area of reconnaissance and flight logistics.
French President Hollande had requested assistance for the fight against ISIL in Syria from Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on 25 November. Following a meeting in the coalition, the Federal Government pledged this support on 26 November.
Help on the basis of international law
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the Federal Government had offered France not only its condolences but also its solidarity after the attacks in Paris.
He said that in the fight against terrorism they were still working on a political process, which had had an encouraging start in Vienna with the meeting on Syria. The Foreign Minister added:
But we will not be able to avoid military confrontation with ISIL, with al‑Nusra and other terrorist groups in Syria.
Therefore, he continued, “we will actually make available what we can and what we can politically justify on the basis of applicable legislation and international law”.
UN Security Council: ISIL’s threat to international peace
Steinmeier said that the United Nations Security Council had, just a few days ago, again declared ISIL and al‑Nusra to be a threat to international peace and therefore called on all countries to push the terrorist groups back from their territories.
Moreover, France requested support from the EU member states for the fight against ISIL last week. The French Government invoked Article 42 paragraph 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which says that the member states shall have an obligation of aid and assistance if an EU country is the victim of armed aggression.
Focus on reconnaissance and logistics
Germany’s contribution is primarily to consist of three components, as Defence Minister von der Leyen explained. First, the Bundeswehr intended to provide a frigate to protect the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle; second, Germany would help to assess the situation on the ground, she said. For this purpose, a Franco-German satellite and reconnaissance aircraft were to be deployed, the Defence Minister added. This was not only important for the fight against ISIL, she continued, but also to protect the civilian population in Syria. A third component concerned air‑to‑air refuelling of aircraft, she added. Von der Leyen said:
The Government has undertaken difficult, but the right and necessary steps today.