Fischer's Mideast move ires EU allies

16th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

16 February 2004 , HAMBURG - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has raised the ire of European Union leaders with his new trans-Atlantic initiative for peace in the Middle East, according to a published report. The report in Der Spiegel news magazine, which hit newsstands Monday, says French President Jacques Chirac has protested sharply against the initiative. Conferring with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in the German town of Genshagen last week, the French leader lashed out at Fischer for having "go

16 February 2004

HAMBURG - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has raised the ire of European Union leaders with his new trans-Atlantic initiative for peace in the Middle East, according to a published report.

The report in Der Spiegel news magazine, which hit newsstands Monday, says French President Jacques Chirac has protested sharply against the initiative.

Conferring with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in the German town of Genshagen last week, the French leader lashed out at Fischer for having "gone off on his own" with an initiative consulting European allies.

The Spanish government was also said to have been taken aback by Fischer's initiative, which he unveiled at last weekend's Munich security conference.

And EU Foreign Affairs envoy Javier Solana said he had been apprised of Fischer's intentions only shortly before the German minister made his announcement.

United States officials, meanwhile, reportedly have dismissed Fischer's initiative as nothing new. Der Spiegel quoted a US administration official as saying Fischer's plan was "a blatant rehash" of US President George W. Bush's recently announced "forward strategy" for the Middle East.

Fischer kicked off the two-day Munich meeting this month by holding out an olive branch to the US.

This was a sharp contrast to last year's meeting where Fischer famously clashed with US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld over the Iraq war which Berlin strongly opposed. An angry Fischer, waving a finger at Rumsfeld, had declared in a voice shaking with emotion: "I'm sorry, I am not convinced!"

This time Fischer proposed a trans-Atlantic initiative for the entire region to boost security, politics, economy and civil society.

"In order to succeed, the European Union and the US should ... pool their capabilities, assets and projects," said Fischer.

Fischer expressed doubts about sending NATO into Iraq but said Berlin would not block the move.

DPA
Subject: German news 

 

 

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