Germany: ‘no comment’ on Bush speech
21 January 2004
BERLIN – The German government refused to make any comment Wednesday on US President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address.
“The German government does not comment on statements … by friendly nations,” said foreign ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner speaking at news briefing.
When pressed by reporters, Ploetner insisted that Bush’s speech had not been primarily aimed at foreign countries.
“My understanding was that this was a speech to the American people on the state of the nation,” he said.
Ties between Germany and the US were chilled after Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder strongly opposed the Iraq war.
Chancellor Schroeder still insists Germany will not send troops to Iraq but has softened his position somewhat by agreeing to aid Iraqi police training and holding out the prospect of basing a medical evacuation jet in Baghdad.
Personal ties between Schroeder and Bush have improved somewhat since they met at the United Nations in New York last autumn.
Schroeder is due to visit the US February 26 to 27 next month but it remains unclear if his planned meeting with Bush will take place in the White House.
Subject: German news