Schroeder: US has learnedits lesson from Iraq war

29th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 June 2004 , ISTANBUL - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Tuesday the "cooperative" positions taken by the United States at a NATO summit showed that Washington had learned its lesson from the Iraq war. "We have learned a war can be won alone - but not the peace," said Schroeder at a news briefing at the end of the two-day NATO summit in Istanbul. The Chancellor added: "This was reflected in the U.S. behaviour." American willingness to cooperate and compromise helped make the summit a success, sai

29 June 2004

ISTANBUL - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Tuesday the "cooperative" positions taken by the United States at a NATO summit showed that Washington had learned its lesson from the Iraq war.

"We have learned a war can be won alone - but not the peace," said Schroeder at a news briefing at the end of the two-day NATO summit in Istanbul.

The Chancellor added: "This was reflected in the U.S. behaviour."

American willingness to cooperate and compromise helped make the summit a success, said the German leader.

Under the summit's main decision, NATO leaders approved allowing the Alliance to train Iraq's armed forces.

But US President George W. Bush bowed to demands by France and Germany - which both opposed the Iraq war - that the 26 NATO states could not be forced to send troops or military experts to Iraq.

Schroeder used the NATO summit to stress repeatedly that Berlin would under no circumstances send troops to Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday made an urgent appeal for immediate deployment of more NATO troops in his country to ensure security for planned September elections.

"Please hurry as NATO to Afghanistan - come sooner than September," said Karzai in a speech to leaders of the 26-nation Alliance meeting for a summit in Istanbul.

NATO on Monday agreed to beef up forces in Afghanistan for elections but Karzai said sending troops in the autumn would be too late given recent targeted killings of voting officials and 17 people Saturday who had just registered to cast ballots.

"The Afghan people need that security today - and not tomorrow," Karzai stressed.

Despite the recent violence, Karzai insisted he would go ahead with polling: "We must and we should go for elections in September."

Some 5.2 million Afghan voters have been registered out of an electorate of almost 10 million, the Afghan leader said. If current trends continue 6 million will be registered by 10 July, he added.

"The Afghan people are showing their enthusiasm despite the terrorist attacks against them," Karzai said.

Karzai praised the "excellent performance" of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul and said he was pleased with NATO's latest troop pledges - even though they were not spelled out in exact figures in the summit communique.

A senior NATO official said ISAF would be increased to 10,000 from the present 6,500 in time for elections.

NATO leaders agreed to create four additional "Provincial Reconstruction Teams" in northern Afghanistan on the model of Germany's civil-military mission in Kunduz, said the official.

The new PRTs will be in Mazar-i-Sharif, Meymana, Feyzabad and Baghlan, said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in a separate statement.

Asked why the 10,000 troop figure and the four new PRTs were not spelled out in the summit declaration signed by all 26 NATO leaders, a German diplomat only shrugged his shoulders and declined any comment.

Nevertheless, Karzai said he was satisfied, adding: "The idea was not that NATO would be deployed all over the country."

There was also confusion over a proposed deployment of NATO's Reaction Force (NRF) which was vetoed by French President Jacques Chirac on Monday. The French leader said such an operation was "politically unwise" on the eve of national elections.

But de Hoop Scheffer said no final decision on this had been reached.

"I certainly do not rule out that the NRF will play a role. It's not a done thing," said de Hoop Scheffer at a news briefing with Karzai.

In other business, NATO leaders met Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and told him Kiev needed major economic, political and defence reforms if he was serious about a bid to join the Alliance.

Kuchma, who met NATO leaders at a summit in Istanbul, admitted that progress was needed in these and other areas, a senior NATO official said.

"We have plenty of work to do," said Kuchma in remarks to reporters, adding that that it was far too early to talk about a NATO membership target date for Ukraine.

NATO leaders on Monday approved giving training to Iraqi security forces but were split on whether to allow the Alliance to set up a headquarters in Baghdad.

But with both France and Germany saying that they would not send troops or even military experts to Iraq, NATO leaders agreed that training for Iraqi forces would take place both inside and outside of Iraq.

DPA

Subject: German news

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