Libya has asked Germany to compensate it for the hundreds of thousands of land mines that Nazi Gen. Erwin Rommel left behind after his World War II campaign in North Africa. Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi embarrassed German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder with the sudden request this week, during the first visit by a German leader to the former rogue state. Some 18 million mines—largely German, but also Italian and British—are buried in the Libyan desert, and they maim dozens of Bedouins each year. Schröder deflected the compensation issue, saying the two countries should put the past behind them.
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