Bush 'not telling truth' in memoirs: Germany's Schroeder
Gerhard Schroeder hit back on Tuesday at claims by former US president George W. Bush in his newly released memoirs that the German ex-chancellor had broken his word over support for an invasion of Iraq.
"Former American president Bush is not telling the truth," Schroeder said in a statement.
Bush said in his memoirs that he told Schroeder in an Oval Office meeting in January 2002 he was determined to make diplomacy work but cautioned that while the military option was Washington's last choice, he would use it if necessary.
"What is true of Afghanistan is true of Iraq," Bush quotes Schroeder as saying. "Nations that sponsor terror must face consequences. If you make it fast and make it decisive, I will be with you."
Schroeder was against the March 2003 invasion, stridently rejecting what he branded a military "adventure", and his opposition is seen as one of the main reasons for his re-election in September 2002.
"I continued to work with Gerhard Schroeder on areas of mutual interest. But as someone who valued personal diplomacy, I put a high premium on trust. Once that trust was violated, it was hard to have a constructive relationship again," Bush says in his book "Decision Points" released on Tuesday.
Schroeder confirmed on Tuesday that he had told Bush that he would "stand reliably on the side of the US" if it was confirmed that Iraq was sheltering those responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"But this link, as it became clear during 2002, was false and contrived. This goes for reasons (for the invasion) given by Bush and (vice president Dick) Cheney too.
"As we know today, the Bush administration's reasons for the Iraq war were based on lies."
France's then-president Jacques Chirac also opposed the war, and a deep transatlantic rift ensued until the end of Schroeder's tenure and the election of Angela Merkel as chancellor in 2005, when relations began to thaw.
© 2010 AFP