Berlin underscores strengthof ties to Washington

3rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 November 2004 , BERLIN – With election projections pointing to a victory by George W. Bush in the race to the White House, Germany's Minister of the Interior Otto Schily emphasised Wednesday Berlin's good working relationship with the US Republican Administration and insisted Germany would help to stabilise Iraq.

3 November 2004

BERLIN – With election projections pointing to a victory by George W. Bush in the race to the White House, Germany's Minister of the Interior Otto Schily emphasised Wednesday Berlin's good working relationship with the US Republican Administration and insisted Germany would help to stabilise Iraq.

Schily told German television that there was close-cooperation between Washington and Berlin on the war on terror as well as good personal ties between Bush and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

But with the official count in the US presidential election still continuing, Schily told reporters that Berlin would "co-operate with a re-elected Bush Administration as well as it would with Kerry."

"German-American relations are all the same no matter who wins, " Schily said, adding that it would remain an important basis for German political life and that Berlin had "very good relations with members of the Bush government".

"Despite the issue of our differing positions in the past, we all have to contribute to ensuring that the situation in Iraq stabilises," Schily told German television with Schroeder again insisting only last month that Germany would not send troops to Iraq.

But German officials have also called for greater cooperation on Iran which has been at the centre of international concern because of its nuclear program.

"In Iran there is clearly a need to work together," said Berlin's co-ordinator for German-American relations Karsten Voigt. "The Europeans - the British, French and Germans - are seeking a peaceful solution.

"But the goal is to prevent, together with the Americans, Iran gaining access to nuclear weapons," Voigt said, adding: "Let us hope and work together to ensure that the cooperative solution the Europeans are working on will be successful."

As was the case in the 2000 election, who becomes the next US president hinges on the outcome of one state, Ohio.

In his comments Wednesday, Voigt, called for a new beginning in US-German relations.

Berlin's fierce opposition to the war in Iraq plunged its alliance with Washington into a major crisis with Germany teaming up with France and Russia to form a anti-war axis.

Voigt told German Radio, he hoped that the future president would take steps to approach the Europeans.

Like many other European nations, there was also deep opposition among Germans to Bush with opinion polls showing more than 70 percent of Germany's population in favour of a change in the White House.

Of the estimated more than seven million Americans living abroad, about 250,000 are thought to live in Germany, including about 50,000 working with the military.

With the polls having been pointing to tight race, Germany emerged as a key focus for both the Republicans and the Democrats to register voters for the poll.

Echoing Voigt's comments on the need for a new start in Berlin-US relations, Volker Ruehe, the chairman of German Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee expressed the hope that the election outcome in the US would set the stage for an improvement in the ties between Washington and Europe.

Ruehe told German Radio that there needed to be better dialogue between the US and Europe.

But the deputy chairman of the German Parliament's Foreign Affairs committee, Hans-Ulrich Klose also warned that a Kerry victory could present Berlin with real difficulties.

This reflects the concern in Berlin's ruling political elite that a Kerry White House might call on Germany as well as France to help share the military burden in Iraq and to dispatch troops to the Gulf.

In line with the view of many analysts that a Bush win would less complicated for Berlin, Klose told Germany's RBB-Inforadio that a possible win for Bush in the election was no reason to panic or to lament.

"If Bush wins the Europeans know who they have to deal with, and likewise President Bush knows what he can expect from the Europeans or what he can or cannot demand," Klose, who is also a prominent member of Schroeder's ruling Social Democrats.

Klose warned, however, that it could be different if Kerry emerged as the victor in the close run race for the White House, saying that a win for the Democrat Party challenger may "lead to not insignificant difficulties for Germany because of the probability that it would have result in us being required to become engaged in Iraq."

Kerry had argued during his campaign for the White House that he would have more success than Bush in bringing traditional allies like Germany and France on board in Iraq.

Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: German news

 

 

 

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