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GERMAN Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told the Bundestag today that she wanted to buy weapons-capable drones to protect soldiers from attack.
She claimed that the German military has had positive experiences with a leased surveillance drone in Afghanistan.
Ms von der Leyen said that the unarmed drone could quickly spot an attack, but it would take “valuable minutes that could cost soldiers’ lives” to call in support from a helicopter or jet.
The minister argued that a weapons-capable European drone should be developed over the coming years.
However, opposition Left Party deputy Christine Buchholz pointed out that armed drones were not invented to protect soldiers.
She told the minister: “The majority of the population doesn’t want these weapons systems.”
Berlin suspended the purchase of armed drones last November on the grounds that it “categorically rejects illegal killings.”
This followed an Amnesty International report accusing Angela Merkel’s government of aiding the US with drone strikes in Pakistan.
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