Germany would be 'strong' if NATO member was attacked: foreign minister

October 13, 2016 9:23 AM EDT

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier addresses the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Germany would give a "strong" response should a member of NATO be attacked, its foreign minister said on Thursday in response to a question by a British lawmaker at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was asked by Mark Pritchard, a Conservative member of the British delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, whether Germany would be "weak or strong" if a member of NATO was attacked, and whether under the organization's Article 5 it would consider launching military action against, for example, an aggressive action by Russia:

"I can answer you very briefly and say: strong," Steinmeier said.

Article 5 is the Western military alliance's collective self-defense mechanism under which all NATO countries must help any member which invokes it.

(Corrects title of British official.)

(Reporting by Gilbert Reilhac; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Andrew Callus and Toby Chopra)

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