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Germany's Responsibility for Peace : An Analysis

Germany's Responsibility for Peace : An Analysis

In a policy statement on the current international situation delivered on February 13 Chancellor Schröder reiterated his support for a peaceful settlement of the Iraq conflict. He said everything possible should be done together with our partners in the European Union and the UN Security Council to achieve the complete and unconditional disarmament of Iraq. Schröder presented a five-point basis for his policy on Iraq. Quelle: BPA, Berlin, den 13. Februar 2003.

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder delivered a policy statement on the current international situation to the German parliament on February 13 in which he focused primarily on the Iraq crisis. In this context Schröder reiterated his support for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

  • Germany bears responsibility for peace

Schröder said Germany has assumed responsibility along with other countries in the United Nations for fighting international terrorism and undertaking efforts to achieve the unconditional disarmament of Iraq. Germany will fulfill its alliance obligations in NATO. "If a partner country is attacked then we, too, will come to its defense. We have proven this in the past. This will continue to be the case," Schröder said.

However, the primary task of the international community is to prevent war. This is the guideline the German government is following. "No 'Realpolitik' and no security doctrine must lead to our gradually becoming used to seeing war as a normal policy instrument, as a continuation of policy action by other means." Those who order the use of military force can do so only on the basis of certain principles and options provided for in the Charter of the United Nations.

The use of military force as a last resort to resolve conflicts is subject to strict limitations. The only exceptions are self-defense against an imminent attack or defensive action taken against a direct and serious threat to international peace and security under a UN Security Council mandate.

  • Unconditional disarmament of Iraq

Germany supports the demand of the international community for the unconditional disarmament of Iraq as well as its full and active cooperation with the weapons inspectors. Germany supports UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and is actively involved in efforts to implement it by providing personnel, equipment and information for the weapons inspectors. The resolution does not contain a mechanism leading to the automatic use of military force, Schröder noted.

Based on information that has been received recent inspections have produced significant results. They have shown definitively that Iraq does not have nuclear weapons or delivery systems for them. However, there are indications that Iraq could very well have the capability to produce other weapons of mass destruction. "For this reason we need to know whether Iraq has anything of this nature and what it is. And if it does have weapons of this kind we need to see to it that they are destroyed in accordance with the provisions of Resolution 1441. This is the task before us."

Schröder expects new information from tomorrow's report from the UN's chief weapons inspector in the Security Council. He feels the inspectors should be given a chance to finish their work successfully. For some time now Germany has taken the view that the inspections should be continued and expanded. "As we noted in our joint declaration with France and Russia, which is now supported by China as well and is in line with the positions taken by other members of the Security Council, what we should be doing in this phase is to exhaust all available options in an attempt to bring about a peaceful solution of the conflict."

  • German government on Iraq based on five points

The alternative is thus not between war or inaction. According to Schröder the German government's policy on Iraq is based on the following five points:

"Firstly: Resolution 1441 does not contain a mechanism leading to the automatic use of military force. The priority task is to employ all available means and to optimize their use in an attempt to bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Secondly: Iraq must cooperate fully and actively with the Security Council and the weapons inspectors. We need absolute clarity with regard to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq's possession and, if they exist, with regard to their definitive elimination.

Thirdly: Responsibility for assessing the progress of the inspections and for any decisions on possible consequences lies solely with the United Nations Security Council.

Fourthly: The key instrument for eliminating prohibited Iraqi weapons programs is and will continue to be an effective inspection and verification regime. It must be expanded and strengthened in accordance with requirements.

Fifthly: Our objective is to create lasting structures for the containment of threats emanating from Iraq as well as for disarmament and stability in the entire region."

  • Common approach to achieving a peaceful settlement of the Iraq conflict

Schröder noted that the French Foreign Minister had put forward proposals in the Security Council on February 5 aimed at creating a more effective inspection regime. The proposals suggested doubling or tripling the number of inspectors, expanding and diversifying their technical equipment, infrastructures and specialized personnel, as well as focusing and strengthening coordinative, reconnaissance, and intervention capabilities.

Schröder indicated that the German government strongly supports these proposals. Parallel to this the German government is working with France and other partners to formulate proposals for peaceful, full, and lasting disarmament. These proposals include the permanent surveillance of relevant installations and effective controls on exports as well as on the final destinations of critical goods, also in cooperation with neighboring countries.

Schröder observed that Germany is assuming is responsibility for the preservation of peace, saying that: "It can't be wrong to undertake extraordinary efforts even if the chance for peace is very small." This assessment is shared by a majority of our European neighbors as well as by a majority of the members of the Security Council.

Germany also supports the proposal put forward by the Greek EU Presidency to convene a special summit next Monday. There we will need to reach what the fifteen foreign ministers reached in early February, a common European position.

Germany is willing to provide everything it can to be able to mobilize a strong and intrusive inspection regime able to provide complete arms control in Iraq. What the best means will be for achieving this objective will have to be discussed with the inspectors and the other countries on the Security Council.

  • Transatlantic friendship based on shared values

With regard to relations between Germany and the United States Schröder said that, despite current differences of opinion, replacement of the principle that might is right by principles based on the rule of law is a shared value that links us closely with our American friends. Transatlantic friendship has never been a narrowly or egoistically defined alliance. It is and will continue to be an alliance based on shared values, the substance of which cannot be affected by occasional differences of opinion.

Schröder: "German-American friendship has long since been based on more than just the gratitude we feel for our liberation from Nazi dictatorship and the opportunity we were given to rebuild our country under a democratic system of government. No, our friendship is based on more than that. It is based on shared cultural values that extend far into the everyday lives of our people. And it is based on mutual respect and the pursuit of common objectives. As such, it is able to withstand any differences of opinion that may occur."

  • No to involvement in milityary action

At the end of his policy statement Schröder reiterated his firm conviction that the disarmament of Iraq can be achieved by peaceful means and that, as such, the German government will continue to say no to involvement in military action.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).