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Germany

Germany Pledges More Help in Iraq

German Interior Minister Otto Schily has promised further help in rebuilding Iraq, in particular its future government and constitution, at a surprise meeting with US President George W. Bush this week. Speaking at a media conference in Washington, Schily said that Germany would provide assistance in setting up the new interim government's ministries and writing its permanent constitution, following the landmark elections there. The parliament which emerges from last Sunday's polls has the prime task of drawing up a constitution to replace the basic law agreed on to see Iraq through the period of instability following Saddam Hussein's removal in 2003. Schily said that Germany's role in Iraq would be the subject of wider discussion when Bush meets Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Feb. 23. During their 25 minutes of discussions, Bush also thanked the visiting German minister for Berlin's help in training Iraq's new police and military. Germany was one of the main opponents of the US-led war on Iraq and steadfastly refused to contribute troops to any peacekeeping effort there, but it has been conducting training programs outside of the war-torn country. Schily said that the president had told him he wanted to move forward relations between Berlin and Washington, which deteriorated markedly over the war in Iraq.

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