Schroeder urges US to back Europe talks with Iran
BERLIN: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder urged the United States to back European diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear programme and called for a closer transatlantic dialogue in an interview published on Wednesday.
Britain, France and Germany - representing the European Union - want to persuade Tehran to stop enriching uranium while US officials have not ruled out military action over what it insists are Iran’s secret plans to make nuclear bombs.
In an interview published a week before the visit to Germany of US President George W. Bush, Schroeder - an opponent of military intervention - said Europe was offering Tehran economic cooperation and security. “Naturally, both can only be supported by Europe and America together,” Schroeder said in the joint interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt and the Wall Street Journal Europe.
Schroeder spoke in the interview of the dawn of a new chapter in transatlantic relations, damaged by differences over the US-led war in Iraq in 2003. He called for more dialogue. “We only find more common ground through closer consultation. We have been offered that by the Americans. We accept the offer,” Schroeder said.
He also said he did not believe European Union plans to lift a weapons embargo on China, a move strongly opposed by the US Congress, would damage transatlantic ties.
“I believe today we each know what the other side expects and what the other can do. In that regard, I am happy that exaggerated expectations and the feeling that the other side is not doing enough have disappeared,” Schroeder said. reuters