Kinkel tries to blackmail Third World

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The Independent Online
IN AN election race increasingly inspired by fear and loathing of foreigners, Germany's Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, leapt to the head of the field yesterday with an imaginative plan to punish the Third World. African and Asian countries resisting the repatriation of their citizens should, he suggested, be deprived of aid.

Mr Kinkel outlined the plan, to be written into the election manifesto of his Free Democrat Party, in an interview with the tabloid Bild Zeitung. "It cannot go on that some countries block the deportation of their own citizens from Germany," the Foreign Minister said.

"When countries fail to co-operate in this area, they must be made aware of the possible consequences: reduction or withdrawal of foreign aid."

Eighteen countries in Africa are said to be guilty of hindering the German clear-out, including Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Gambia, Bangladesh and famine- ravaged Sudan. Germany has 270,000 asylum-seekers awaiting the knock on the door from immigration officials.

An estimated 70,000 come from Mr Kinkel's hit-list, constituting less than 0.1 per cent of Germany's population, while a further 9,000 are believed to have arrived from Africa and Asia. The latter group cannot be repatriated because they had taken the precaution of burning their passports, and will not tell Germans where "home" is.

Although black and Asian people are anything but visible, confined as they are to detention centres and refugee homes, they have a high profile in German media reports dealing with crime, and jibes at their expense play well at election rallies. Apart from the Greens, no party is willing to speak up on their behalf.

After elections last month in the Land of Saxony-Anhalt, where the racist German People's Union swept up 13 per cent of the vote, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's coalition renewed its interest in the threats and inconveniences posed by foreigners.

Until yesterday, Mr Kohl's Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union, led the way with calls for the repatriation of entire families where one juvenile is caught shoplifting. Mr Kinkel has now trumped that with his plan, to the irritation of his Bavarian colleagues. The Minister for Development Aid, Carl-Dieter Spranger, who is a member of the CSU, was quick to protest yesterday at not having been consulted.