German opposition leadermakes U-Turn on Iraq

5th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 May 2004 , HAMBURG – Angela Merkel, the chief of German conservative opposition, has dropped a pro-Washington policy in the Gulf and is now critical of the Bush administration's stance on handover of authority in Iraq, according to an interview to be published Thursday. The interview in Die Zeit newspaper quotes the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader as distancing herself from Washington's Iraq stance for the first time. This follows reports that Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer planned to use Merk

5 May 2004

HAMBURG – Angela Merkel, the chief of German conservative opposition, has dropped a pro-Washington policy in the Gulf and is now critical of the Bush administration's stance  on handover of authority in Iraq, according to an interview to be published Thursday.

The interview in Die Zeit newspaper quotes the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader as distancing herself from Washington's Iraq stance for the first time.

This follows reports that Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer planned to use Merkel's support of Washington as a campaign issue in key state, regional and European elections this year.

Fischer is also a leading member of the Green party, which is the junior member of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrat-led government.

Merkel has also been under pressure on Iraq as a result of comments made by her chosen candidate for German president, Horst Koehler in which the former IMF chief was very critical of Washington.

Schroeder joined Fischer in the last national election in 2002 turn deep-seated opposition in Germany to war in Iraq into an election winner and as a consequence helped to spearhead European opposition to the Washington-led military campaign in the Gulf.

Until now, Merkel has steadfastly condemned German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for his opposition to the US-led war against Iraq, accusing him of driving a wedge between Germany and the United States.


But in her interview with Die Zeit, Merkel now appears to believe that there was too much optimism that a military intervention would help to build a democratic post-Saddam Iraq.

"The Americans were confident that they would be able to bring democracy to Iraq just as happened in Germany after 1945," she added.

"But unlike Germany after World War II, Iraq has no democratic tradition to base a transition upon."

She also spoke out about allegations of prisoner abuse in Iraq, saying, "The credibility of democratic values is at stake. The reports of abuse and torture of prisoners are dreadful. This must be a full accounting."

[Copyright DPA and Expatica 2004]

Subject: German news

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 Comments To This Article