European Press Review: A Desperate Situation? | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 27.05.2004
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European Press Review: A Desperate Situation?

European newspaper editorials on Thursday commented on the situation in Iraq and take a look at the Sudan peace deal aimed at clearing the way to end Africa’s longest-running war.

A prolonged U.S. Iraqi occupation appears increasingly unacceptable, said Italy’s Corriere della Sera. On the other hand, the paper continued, a rapid withdrawal of the superpower could lead to a spreading of the jihad, maybe even a civil war that would sooner or later involve Iran , Syria and Turkey. But can the United Nations offer a way out of this dilemma, the paper asked. It’s quite a trial for UN Chief Kofi Annan and the world body’s special Iraq envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Italian paper concluded: It's actually a desperate situation.

Also from Italy, La Repubblica pointed out the main problems in connection with a new UN Iraq resolution: issues of sovereignty (what powers does an Iraqi interim government have?), security (who heads the coalition troops?) and oil (who has the rights?) Washington and London, are now looking for new allies so the draft resolution can be accepted, the paper added.

The leader of the strongest democracy in the world still hasn’t managed to present a real perspective for Iraq’s future, Austria’s Salzburger Nachrichten commented. Instead, he conjures up a vision of freedom that would not only benefit Iraqis but the entire region, the paper wrote. The question remains whether the most powerful man in the world is aware of the fact that his visions and reality don’t match, the paper noted: Does he believe his own words?

Information from Denmark came to the same conclusion, saying the Iraqis are in dire need of democracy and stability. But the paper pointed out that there is a huge gap between Bush’s words and his political practice. Other papers looked at what could be the end of the conflict between the government and rebels in Sudan. “A partial peace” was the headline in London’s Financial Times. The paper went on to say that all the main pieces are now in place for an end to the war in southern Sudan, a war that has cost more than two million lives over the past 20 years. But the paper said the flaws in the agreement are already obvious: most of all in the way it shares responsibility for the country’s destiny between the two principal protagonists of the conflict, leaving out other factions in the north and south. The dangers of this approach, the paper pointed out, have been demonstrated by the human catastrophe in Sudan’s western Darfur region. The daily concluded that the scope for international leverage may be limited. "Realisitcally -- who would undertake it," the paper added.