Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stoiber: I Would Bar U.S. Troops

BERLIN -- Edmund Stoiber, the conservative leader opposing Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der in weekend elections, said Thursday he would bar U.S. forces from using German bases for a unilateral war on Iraq.

With tensions over Iraq playing into Sunday's national elections, Stoiber has been forced to respond to Schr?der's opposition to a war on Iraq and his refusal to commit German troops.

Asked during a TV talk show Thursday whether Germany would serve as a strategic staging area for a U.S. attack on Iraq, Stoiber said, "Certainly never if the Americans go it alone." Stoiber also joined Schr?der in rejecting the U.S. goal of removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "Now the aim is to destroy weapons of mass destruction, not topple a dictator," Stoiber was quoted Thursday as saying in the Chemnitzer Freie Presse.

But Stoiber reaffirmed his stand that Germany must be ready to support action against Saddam backed by the UN Security Council, contrasting with Schr?der's view that any war on Iraq would be a mistake. "If it comes about, I believe it is impossible that Germany would stand alone and refuse to accept a UN mandate," Stoiber said during the taping of an RTL television show.

Schr?der has helped revive a faltering re-election campaign with his stand on Iraq, which polls show is supported by a majority of voters. His Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats led by Stoiber are in a neck-and-neck race for Sunday's parliamentary election.