German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen passes soldiers Dec. 17 during an office handing-over ceremony at the defense ministry in Berlin. (Michael Sohn / AP)
BERLIN — The German government wants to broaden its military engagement in international missions abroad.
German news weekly Spiegel reported Sunday that Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is in favor of sending more German soldiers to crisis regions for humanitarian reasons. Von der Leyen told Spiegel the country could not “look the other way when murder and rape are part of the daily routine.”
The defense minister mentioned the conflict in the Central African Republic and said she could imagine the Bundeswehr helping evacuate wounded soldiers with its medical air planes. She says the government was also considering sending more soldiers to Mali.
Germans are generally wary of military action and the country has been criticized abroad for not joining military missions like the international military intervention in Libya in 2011.