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New German Leader To Meet Clinton

October 9, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Possible Western military action in Kosovo and the global economic crisis are major items on German chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder’s agenda in talks with President Clinton and World Bank President James Wolfensohn.

Michael Donnermeyer, spokesman for Schroeder’s Social Democratic Party, said Schroeder’s meeting today with Clinton, the third this year, will be ``more substantive″ than the other two now that he has been elected chancellor.

Schroeder, who will be sworn in on Oct. 27, has stressed his support for continuity in German foreign policy.

Before leaving Thursday for Washington, he met with outgoing Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Neither side would comment on what was discussed.

But with NATO debating whether to attack Serbia over the violence in Kosovo and Clinton floating new proposals to calm the world’s turbulent financial markets, the two were presumed to be coordinating on Germany’s positions for the transition period.

Despite Washington’s efforts to rally a united front, NATO allies are divided over whether military action without a U.N. mandate can be justified.

Kohl already has offered 14 Tornado jets. But even his center-right government has been divided over whether they actually should be deployed without an explicit U.N. mandate.

Clinton is expected to try to bring Germany’s new leadership around to supporting Washington’s position that no new U.N. Security Council resolution is needed.

Schroeder’s center-left coalition has generally argued that acting without U.N. approval would be a violation of international law. But last week in Paris, Schroeder said, ``if the situation modifies, we may have to take a new position.″

Accompanying Schroeder is a team that includes two lawmakers expected to be named as his foreign and defense ministers: Greens leader Joschka Fischer and Social Democrat Guenter Verheugen.

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