BILD: The role played by Germany in the Iraq war is looking increasingly suspect. Can you guarantee that BND (Federal Intelligence Service) agents did not provide the Americans with any kind of help in tracking down Saddam Hussein?

Steinmeier: Hold on a moment! The previous Federal Government, in the face of often fierce opposition at home and abroad, stood firm on its decision not to participate in the Iraq war. And now some people are attempting to rewrite history! That is something my party and I will not allow! The Federal Government took a clear policy decision, which was binding on the BND and its staff. There was to be no active support for military operations in Iraq. And no such support was provided, as the BND President has stated in clear and unmistakable terms. If anonymous sources allege otherwise, I challenge them to come out of cover and furnish convincing proof of their claims!

German agents identify targets that should not be bombed, the Americans destroy the rest – does that not amount to double standards?

That is an unfair criticism. Preventing an embassy or a hospital from being hit has nothing to do with double standards and everything to do with saving innocent lives.

The Opposition wants a committee of enquiry into this whole affair. Do you rule out any possibility that you may resign?

To set up a committee of enquiry is Parliament’s right and prerogative. But I think it is only fair that those concerned should first have a chance to respond to the anonymous allegations and clarify the facts of the matter in the relevant committees. And to those who are calling for my resignation, I say that any such thing is out of the question!