Germany joins other nationsin hailing Iraq election

31st January 2005, Comments 0 comments

31 January 2005, BRUSSELS - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Monday hailed Iraq's elections as a crucial step toward democracy but said Germany was sticking to its decision to train Iraqi security personnel outside the country. Attending a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, Fischer told reporters Iraqi citizens had made a courageous decision to vote despite tough security conditions. Berlin would continue efforts to help stabilise Iraq but Fischer underlined that Germany's l

31 January 2005

BRUSSELS - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Monday hailed Iraq's elections as a crucial step toward democracy but said Germany was sticking to its decision to train Iraqi security personnel outside the country.

Attending a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, Fischer told reporters Iraqi citizens had made a courageous decision to vote despite tough security conditions.

Berlin would continue efforts to help stabilise Iraq but Fischer underlined that Germany's long-running programme to train Iraqi security personnel would remain based in Abu Dhabi. Germany, which opposed the U.S.-led Iraq war, has refused to send troops to the country.

"As long as the security situation in Iraq is as it is, resources are more efficiently spent outside Iraq," Fischer said.

"We are ready for further training in Abu Dhabi," he said, adding: "While others were debating (helping Iraq), we have been training and will continue to do so."

"This has turned out to be very useful," Fischer said adding that all countries, whether they opposed the Iraq war or not, were helping to reduce violence in the country.

"Today's challenge - the stabilisation of Iraq on a democratic basis - must be tackled jointly but within the framework of limits which have been set," he insisted.

Earlier, in a statement issued in Berlin, Fischer made an indirect appeal to the country's Sunni minority not to boycott the future Iraqi government.

"Iraqis deserve great recognition for proving their will to chart their nation's course with peaceful and democratic means despite massive attempts to intimidate them," he said.

He added: "Carrying out the elections in Iraq means a step toward democratization of the country."

Fischer said the key task now was to prepare a new constitution for Iraq and he made an indirect appeal to Iraq's Sunni minority, many of whom did not take part in the election.

"Neither force nor refusal to join talks are the way out of the crisis," said Fischer, adding, "At the same time no group can be left out of forging the future for all Iraqis."

The minister said Iraq's new constitution had to involve all political and ethnic groups in the country.

DPA

Subject: German news

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