Germany said yesterday that it would not accede to US requests to pledge military and other assistance in the event of war on Iraq. The request was recently made to 60 countries. Chancellor Schroder said that such a commitment was incompatible with the country’s stance against an attack, but he did say that the US could use its military bases in Germany for assaults on Iraq and promised defence systems to Israel.

Looking to a possible post-Saddam Iraq, the US is continuing efforts to bring together fractious Iraqi opposition groups for a conference in London. According to London-based Iraqi National Congress, American mediation had settled the argument between the main factions over how many delegates each would have.