US, Germany reject deadline for US Iraq pullout

28th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

28 May 2004 , MEXICO - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and US government officials have both ruled out setting a date for a pullout of US troops from Iraq as suggested by China. US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher called fixing such a deadline "arbitrary" and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder added, "I don't think that in the current situation we can set a final date." Germany, an opponent of the Iraq invasion, and other members of the UN Security Council said they have questions about a US- and B

28 May 2004

MEXICO - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and US government officials have both ruled out setting a date for a pullout of US troops from Iraq as suggested by China.

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher called fixing such a deadline "arbitrary" and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder added, "I don't think that in the current situation we can set a final date."

Germany, an opponent of the Iraq invasion, and other members of the UN Security Council said they have questions about a US- and British-proposed resolution concerning who will control military power and how much sovereignty will be handed to the new Iraqi government on 30 June.

And Schroeder, speaking during a visit to Mexico City, said the draft resolution could be improved upon.

On Monday, the United States and Britain put forward the draft resolution pledging a full transfer of sovereignty to Iraq but also requesting no limit be placed on its military command.

Schroeder said the resolution must constitute a "true handover of sovereignty" and urged the international community to work together to come to a consensus on the matter.

"Good will alone won't do it," he said.

French President Jacques Chirac also expressed concerns with how far sovereignty would go for the interim government under the current draft resolution and called for "serious improvement" to the proposal.

Chirac said during a visit to Guatemala City that the resolution must ensure full sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government and must cover the armed forces and petroleum in Iraq.

The future US ambassador to Baghdad and its current UN ambassador, John Negroponte, has said that Washington was prepared to negotiate to a certain extent on the resolution.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Boucher said the US military presence in Iraq should end once Iraq is secure rather than setting an "arbitrary" date in a United Nations resolution to withdraw.

The United States has so far refused to put a firm date in the draft resolution before the Security Council and instead calls for a review after one year.

"We don't think it's properly addressed by throwing some specific date in the resolution," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The US-led occupation during the last year demonstrates the difficulty associated with predicting when the country will be sufficiently secure to end the military presence, Boucher said.

"The end of the mandate for the multinational force should be when the Iraqis themselves are in a position to ensure the security of their government," he said.

France, which is a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council along with the United States and Britain, said that the US military presence in Iraq must have a clearly noted time limit.

In case a democratically elected and legitimate government in Baghdad asks the United States to continue to station troops in Iraq, Paris would have "no problem" with that solution, said Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, the French ambassador to the United Nations.

The US-British draft resolution also seeks international backing for a multinational force in Iraq. Schroeder called on all nations to help bring stability to Iraq after increasingly violent attacks by the Iraqi resistance against foreign military targets as well as the Iraqi Governing Council.

"The international community must do everything it can to democratize and stabilize Iraq," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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