Bush did not want Schroeder meeting
8 January 2003
WASHINGTON – US President George W. Bush did not want to meet with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at the United Nations last year but did so at the urging of his national security advisor.
A Bush administration official who witnessed a conversation between Bush and national security advisor Condoleezza Rice recounted the exchange prior to the September meeting in a New York Times article published this week.
The official said Rice carefully suggested the White House begin repairing the rift with allies over Iraq by reaching out to Germany.
“I can’t do it with Schroeder,” Bush replied, according to the senior official.
Schroeder had angered Bush by making his opposition to the war the main focus of his re-election campaign and the American president felt he could not trust the German Chancellor.
The Times said Rice did not directly suggest a meeting with Schroeder, but Bush seemed to realize that was what she had in mind.
“Wait a minute, you’ll get me back with Schroeder, I know what you’re trying to do,” the official quoted the president as saying.
A meeting between the two leaders was soon scheduled to take place during the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“I knew that was going to happen,” Bush laughingly told Rice after learning of the arrangement, according to the unidentified official.
Rice added a few comments, according to the official, before saying: “Now, look, it’s the right time to do it.”
Subject: German news