US does not 'oppose' any UNSecurity Council bid: Bush

27th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 June 2005, BERLIN - U.S. President George W. Bush, after meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, said the United States does not oppose any country's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. "We oppose no country," Bush told reporters. Schroeder said that during their discussions he was glad to hear that Bush was not against a German seat on the powerful body. "I was very pleased, indeed, to hear that there was no opposition, - vis-a-vis Germany as such - from the president," Sch

27 June 2005

BERLIN - U.S. President George W. Bush, after meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, said the United States does not oppose any country's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

"We oppose no country," Bush told reporters.

Schroeder said that during their discussions he was glad to hear that Bush was not against a German seat on the powerful body.

"I was very pleased, indeed, to hear that there was no opposition, - vis-a-vis Germany as such - from the president," Schroeder said.

Schroeder was in Washington to push for U.S. support for a permanent seat on the Security Council. The United States supports Japan's bid and a permanent seat for second country that has not been named, but top Bush administration officials have indicated Germany lacked similar support at the White House.

Germany wants six new permanent members on the 15-nation council and four new rotating members, while the United States prefers two new permanent members and two or three more rotating.

India and Brazil are among the two other candidates for a permanent seat. Italy has also been mentioned.

Schroeder pointed to German involvement in Afghanistan, its role training Iraqi forces as well as stability work in the Balkans to show why Germany deserves permanent membership.

"I have very much pointed out to the president what Germany does do around the world," the chancellor said through a translation.

Bush reiterated his support for the negotiations with Iran led by Britain, France and Germany aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and the prospects for moving forward following the victory of hardline Teheran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"My message to the chancellor is that we continue working with Great Britain, France and Germany to send a focused, concerted, unified message that says the development of a nuclear weapon is unacceptable and a process which would enable Iran to develop a nuclear weapon is unacceptable," Bush said.

Schroeder said the Europe will continue being "tough and firm" in conveying a "very crystal clear" message to the Iranians. Schroeder emphasized that Ahmadinejad has said he's committed to the negotiations.

Prior to meeting with Bush, Schroeder said the outcome of the Iranian elections must be respected, while Washington has resoundly criticized the election because Iran's top clergy disqualifed hundreds of candidates.

"It's never free and fair when a group of people, unelected people, get to decide who's on the ballot," Bush said.

The outcome of the election has raised concerns in both Washington and European capitals including Berlin that the likelihood has diminished for a resolution to the long-running concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran did agree to suspend uranium enrichment last year, an important process for building atomic weapons, but the negotiations have since not produced any significant breakthroughs.

Schroeder's visit comes less than three months before Germans go to the polls in national elections the chancellor called a year earlier than planned after his Social Democrats suffered a series of crushing defeats in state elections.

The Christian Democratic Party led by Angela Merkel is heavily favoured to unseat Schroeder, a change observers in Washington believe would be welcomed by the Bush administration.

The relationship between Bush and Schroeder as well as between the two countries was badly soured by differences over the Iraq war and Schroeder's using the issue as the focus of his 2002 re-election campaign.

But the two leaders have taken strides to put the past aside and focus on area of cooperation, such as the negotiations with Iran.

Asked whether he wished Schroeder luck with the elections around the corner, Bush said the chancellor was "lucky" to have only a short campaign.

"The chancellor is a seasoned political campaigner," Bush said. "And if there's elections, I'm confident he knows what he's going to do out there."

DPA

Subject: German news

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