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Germany

Foreign Minister Criticizes U.S. Policy in Iraq

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer criticized the Bush administration's policy in Iraq in an interview with the Handelsblatt newspaper. He said the current problems there were "exactly the ones we feared." Fischer called for the United Nations to take a leading role in Iraq and involve Muslim country's in reconstructing the war-torn country. The U.N. should begin a political process similar to the one for Afghanistan that culminated in the Petersberg conference in Dec. 2001 where a transitional government for the country was established to replace the deposed Taliban regime, Fischer said. He confirmed that Germany would be prepared to step up its reconstruction efforts if the U.N. were to play a central role in Iraq. "The success [of measures in Iraq] can be measured by whether the population sees the presence of foreign troops as occupation or liberation," Fischer said.