Berlin sets terms forUN Iraq resolution
24 May 2004, BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Monday set terms for German support of a planned UN Security Council resolution on Iraq and urged the deploying of Islamic peacekeepers who better understood the Iraqi "mentality." Schroeder also repeated longstanding German doubts on sending the NATO alliance into Iraq at a news conference with foreign reporters in Berlin. "We are interested in getting stable democracy in Iraq and for the region," said Schroeder who led European opposition to the Iraq
24 May 2004
BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Monday set terms for German support of a planned UN Security Council resolution on Iraq and urged the deploying of Islamic peacekeepers who better understood the Iraqi "mentality."
Schroeder also repeated longstanding German doubts on sending the NATO alliance into Iraq at a news conference with foreign reporters in Berlin.
"We are interested in getting stable democracy in Iraq and for the region," said Schroeder who led European opposition to the Iraq war and has refused to send troops to Baghdad.
The Chancellor said Germany would be willing to discuss a new US sponsored Iraq resolution at the United Nations, a draft of which is due to be discussed informally at the UN later Monday.
German diplomats say the main points of the draft are a bigger UN role in Iraq and international aid for rebuilding the country.
Schroeder said Germany viewed a series of points as crucial for both the resolution and winning the peace in Iraq. He said these include:
- Handing over Iraqi sovereignty to a transition government on schedule by 30 June.
- Giving real power to the transitional government including access to Iraq's oil resources.
- Allowing the transition government to control security organs in Iraq.
Schroeder said Germany would be willing to provide more aid for Iraq but only if this was made possible by improved security. He also noted that Berlin had called for Iraq's foreign debt to be slashed under the auspices of the Paris Club of creditor nations.
While not calling for removal of US and British troops from Iraq, the German leader said the country needed security forces closer to the "mentality" and "beliefs" of the Iraqi people.
Such forces would be better drawn from Islamic countries and this was why Germany was running an Iraqi police training programme in the United Arab Emirates, he said.
Media reports say the US is seeking at least 130,000 Arab peacekeepers for after 30 June from countries including Tunisia, Egypt, Oman and Jordan.
Turning to the ongoing scandal involving the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in US military prisons, Schroeder said he was sure that German troops would never have treated inmates in this manner.
"The young people in the German armed forces are so well trained I cannot imagine they would ever take part in what has happened ...," he said.
Schroeder said because of this, German troops did not need to be granted any kind of immunity when serving on foreign missions and that Germany would vote in accordance with international law and its values on any decision to grant immunity to US soldiers.
The Chancellor underlined German doubts over giving the NATO alliance any role in Iraq.
"I have my doubts if a NATO presence would really yield improved security," said Schroeder. The issue of NATO and Iraq is expected to be high on the agenda at next month's G8 summit of industrialised nations at Sea Island, Georgia in the US and the NATO summit in Istanbul.
Schroeder dampened calls made earlier this year by the US government and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer for a Greater Middle East Inititative aimed at pushing democratic and economic reform throughout the entire region.
"We have always pointed out it is good to support such a reform process but that it must come from within the region," said Schroeder.
He said major reform would not come about merely by telling leaders of the region to look at European society and copy it. "This would be seen as something foreign," Schroeder noted.
In any case, Schroeder said, there were great differences throughout the region and a one-size-fits-all recipe was unlikely to work.
Above all, the Chancellor stressed, there would be no stability until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was settled.
The two core issues are security for the Israeli people within their borders and the creation of an independent Palestinian state, he said.
Subject: German news