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CRIME

Steinmeier strengthens calls for action against pirates

The German government has reiterated its calls for action against the pirates operating along the coast of Somalia, with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier saying this weekend, “We have to act urgently.”

Steinmeier strengthens calls for action against pirates
The next victim, a Chinese fishing boat is captured. Photo:DPA

He told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, “We need to finally regain secure sea routes around the Horn of Africa.”

Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said he wanted to see the European nations working together to create a legal basis for any action.

“There must be a robust mandate which will help to scare them off, and enable an effective basis for dealing with this,” he told the paper.

But the pirates holding sway over the supertanker Sirius Star have warned they would fight back if force were to be used to try to take it back.

“We would defend the tanker if we were to be attacked,” Abdiyare Moalim, one of those involved, told the news agency AFP.

He said he and his comrades did not want to damage the ship or hurt the crew, but wanted €20 million from its Saudi owners.

Although Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Saud el Faisal has dismissed calls to talk, Moalim has claimed negotiations are taking place.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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