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Germany Seeks New U.N. Standing, Reversing Role Since End of War

Germany, looking toward a larger role on the world stage, is seeking a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and the inclusion of German troops in U.N. peacekeeping missions.

This marks a reversal from the low international profile the country has held since it was partitioned at the end of World War II.

German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel announced Sunday that the government would seek parliamentary support for a constitutional amendment that would enable German participation in U.N. missions.

The opposition Social Democratic Party said it would agree to the measure as long as it was under U.N. auspices.

Kinkel also signaled Germany’s wish for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

The moves reflect modification of a German posture that recognized the legacy of its Nazi past as well as the deep feelings of Jews and others sensitive to any sign of renewed German militarism.

Germany is now seeking a role proportionate to the country’s considerable economic strength.

The foreign minister told a newspaper interviewer this week that the current composition of the Security Council represents the power balance that existed at the end of World War II and not today’s political realities.

But in order to join the Security Council as a permanent member, Germany would have to win the unanimous backing of the five current permanent members, any one of which could veto the move.

The five are the United States, Britain, Russia, France and China.

Kinkel said he had raised the issue in talks with his European counterparts.