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German Press Review: Too Little, Too Late?

Many German newspaper editorials focused on the NATO summit in Istanbul while other commentators took as look at the conflict in Sudan’ s Darfur region.

The Europeans want to help settle the situation in Iraq, according to the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. This is in the interest of all sides, the paper continued, and especially in the interest of the Iraqis themselves, who want nothing more fervently than an end to the terror, and the beginning of stability. But, the paper pointed out that the European partners can not and will not take over Washington’s responsibility for developments in Iraq.

At least the ice between the USA and some European nations is melting which is the most important result of the weekend’s EU summit, wrote the Nürnberger

Zeitung. The paper didn't believe Bush would achieve anything else at Monday's NATO summit in Istanbul. NATO’s Secretary General has already made clear, the paper noted, that Afghanistan is the alliance’s priority, and that NATO’s credibility will be measured in terms of its success there. Which means, the paper wrote, that Iraq basically remains to be an issue for the US and its allies.

The Fuldaer Zeitung came to the same conclusion, saying U.S. President Bush remained isolated on a political level. While the EU nations will grant him economic and humanitarian aid in rebuilding Iraq, the paper observed, Bush is not going to get the military support he’d like. And how could he expect anything else, the paper asked, adding that despite the upcoming hand-over of power in Iraq, there has been no change in Bush’s absolutist policies.

The Financial Times Deutschland wrote that a big problem for Bush is America’s damaged relationship with its allies. The President thoughtlessly put them off, the paper observed, and now, the US stands without its important partners, France and Germany. The paper noted that if NATO were to raise its flag in Iraq now, Bush would be able to use that fact in his favor in the US presidential elections.

And finally, the Süddeutsche Zeitung commented on the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan can do a lot to defuse the conflict, the paper said, although it pointed out that diplomatic efforts have actually begun too late -- much too late for many in Darfur. The war in western Sudan, the paper pointed out, is not a catastrophe that came out of the blue. The west, the paper concluded, has hardly learned a thing from the genocide in Rwanda; the lack of interest suggests a deep-seated mentality that still deems African lives as less important than those of other people.