Spain and Germany Discuss Cooperation on Iraq, EU | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 29.04.2004
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Spain and Germany Discuss Cooperation on Iraq, EU

Spainish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said on Wednesday they supported a new U.N. resolution for Iraq. But they played down reports about a new European initiative.


Zapatero and Schröder both opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Amid high expectations Zapatero had come to Berlin seeking support for a new initiative to scale back the U.S. role in Iraq within the framework of the United Nations, the two leaders made clear they had only begun to discuss the matter.

"We are having consultations with the German government, the French government and the American government about the perspectives for new suggestions in the U.N. Security Council," Zapatero said at a joint press conference with Schröder. "The Spanish government feels obligated to continue to work in Iraq. We don't have a one-sided initiative."

The trip is Zapatero's first trip to Germany since being elected prime minister and comes after his decision to withdraw all of Spain's 1,300 troops in Iraq. Unlike the unflagging support of his conservative predecessor Jose Aznar, Zapatero -- like Schröder -- has been opposed to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Both leaders said they discussed working together in the European Union and specifically on the European constitution, the passage of which had stalled on the opposition of the previous Spanish government. But the press conference was dominated by questions about the Iraq.

Berlin then Paris

After meeting Schröder in Berlin, the Spanish leader headed to Paris to talk with French President Jacques Chirac on Thursday. Germany and France were the most outspoken opponents of last year's invasion to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and led the campaign against the war at the United Nations. Spain is also currently a member of the Security Council.

"At some point there will be a new resolution," said Schröder. "Naturally we will work closely with the Spanish and French governments. But that doesn't mean we won't continue to discuss things with other members of the Security Council."

Zapatero had initially said that the United Nations should play the defining role as a condition of its keeping Spanish troops in Iraq beyond June 30. But shortly after taking office earlier this month, he ordered their withdrawal saying that a U.N. resolution seemed unlikely.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer spoke with his Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos earlier on Wednesday, who said the plan was still at "a very early stage." He said the initiative was open to other nations, especially the United States.

Fischer said the plan outlined by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to the Security Council on Tuesday should be the basis for any discussion of a new resolution. The plan provides for a caretaker government to oversee Iraq from the time it takes power on June 30 until national elections in the end of January 2005.

"The question of a real transfer of sovereignty in this process and keeping to the timetable should be the basis of this process," Fischer said, according to the Associated Press.

DW recommends