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Germany

Schröder Still Against Sending Troops to Iraq

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on Wednesday spoke out against sending more troops to Iraq, saying instead training Iraqi police and soldiers would do more to improve security. "I have my doubts... whether increasing the number of soldiers currently there, regardless of who they are provided by, would mean a definite improvement in security," Schröder told the German parliament during a debate on the 2004 draft budget. "I believe that those people -- in the United States too -- are right who say what we really need is training for Iraqi police and training for the Iraqi military," he said. The chancellor, who antagonized Washington with his strident opposition to the Iraq war, said Germany was willing to train Iraqi forces and police, but ruled out sending troops, saying extra soldiers should preferably come from Muslim countries. Schröder also alluded to Germany’s overstretched army, which already has peacekeepers deployed in the Balkans and Afghanistan.