St. Petersburg Times
Online: Iraq

tampabay.com
Back
Print story Subscribe to the Times

Iraq

Blair, Schroeder seek to heal relations, Iraq

©Associated Press
April 16, 2003

HANOVER, Germany -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder sought Tuesday to portray the rebuilding of Iraq as a chance not only to improve the lives of Iraqis but also to repair strained trans-Atlantic ties.

Schroeder has been at odds with President Bush since opposing the war during his successful re-election campaign, and Tuesday's meeting was seen as an attempt by Blair to help mediate a rapprochement between Berlin and Washington.

Germany already has made gestures toward the United States, softening its rhetoric as soon as the war began and repeatedly welcoming the fall of the Iraqi regime.

"Whenever a dictator falls, mankind gains," Schroeder said. "There will always be conflict over what form that takes. I hope that the military gain in Iraq can be turned into a political gain for the people of Iraq and for the international community."

With the war nearing an end, the two leaders tried to focus on the opportunity presented by reconstruction without stumbling again over the role of the United Nations in postwar Iraq, another sticking point.

Germany wants a central role for the United Nations. And while Blair and Bush last week agreed the world body should be a vital player in rebuilding the country, it remains unclear how that will mesh with the Bush administration's desire for Washington to take the lead.

Britain's international development secretary, Clare Short, said Tuesday a transitional Iraqi government would be legitimate -- and able to attract funding from the international community -- only with U.N. involvement. Short, who had threatened to resign over the war in Iraq, also said Blair's Labor Party remained deeply troubled about the conflict.

Schroeder and Blair did not clarify how consensus on the United Nations' role can be achieved.

"It is very clear that in principle the United Nations must have a key role," Blair said. "It is important to agree on principle, then discuss among us details on how that role might be fulfilled."

Blair said he and Schroeder agreed on the need for democracy in Iraq.

Print story Subscribe to the Times


Eyes on Iraq
Reports from a region in conflict
Today's coverage
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
  • Iraq: Iraq's intellectual heritage sacked
  • Iraq: Blair, Schroeder seek to heal relations, Iraq
  • Iraq: Powell: No attack on Syria
  • Iraq: Hunt continuing for Iraq's trove of terror
  • Shuttle Disaster: Mere slit may have been 'Columbia' wing's undoing
  • Iraq: Dear Abby site nears its 2-millionth message
  • Iraq: Two families of custodians remain to nurture cradle of mankind
  • Iraq: U.S. hosts meeting of Iraqis; thousands protest
  • Iraq: Flareups puncture slow return of order
  • Bush aims for middle ground on tax cut
  • Nation in brief: Gym shooting victim had gun in pocket, coroner says
  • FBI reels from wrongdoing by workers
  • Dangerous, yes, but Kabul has changed
  • Who's funding Bob Graham? Mostly Fla. folk
  • World in brief: 9 more die from SARS in Hong Kong, but baby saved
  •  

    Related links
    Online journal

    Reports from a region in conflict

    World & Nation