President to Germans: don't reject military deployments out of hand in facing aggression

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.

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.