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Will Germany Send Soldiers to War Abroad?

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"It is sometimes necessary to take up arms."

COLOGNE, GERMANY - JUNE 09: German President Joachim Gauck reacts during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the bombing in Keupstrasse street on June 9, 2014 in Cologne, Germany. On June 9, 2004, a bomb filled with nails detonated in the immigrant-heavy street that injured 22 people and for which neo-Nazis Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) took responsibility in a video found eight years later. Beate Zschaepe, who lived with the two men, is currently on trial in Munich for her roll in their activities that also include the murder of nine immigrants and a policewoman. Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Zach Noble

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's president says his compatriots shouldn't always reject deploying the military to help resolve conflicts as he underlines calls for the country to take more international responsibility.

COLOGNE, GERMANY - JUNE 09: German President Joachim Gauck reacts during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the bombing in Keupstrasse street on June 9, 2014 in Cologne, Germany. Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

German officials have advocated a more active diplomatic role over recent months but remain cautious about military deployments, which are broadly unpopular at home.

President Joachim Gauck told Deutschlandfunk radio in an interview broadcast Saturday that he understands Germans' longstanding reluctance to take a leading international role but the country is now a "solid and reliable democracy." He said that in defending human rights and innocent lives "it is sometimes necessary to take up arms."

Gauck, whose position carries moral authority but little day-to-day power, says a military response shouldn't be ruled out in advance as a "last resort" in facing aggression.

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