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Reconstruction of Iraq under UN leadership

Reconstruction of Iraq under UN leadership

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and French President Jacques Chirac met in St. Petersburg on the evening of April 11 for consultations on the Iraq crisis. Schröder and Putin also took part in the Petersburg Dialogue discussion forum.

Key role for UN in reconstruction of Iraq

The three leaders reaffirmed their desire to see a leading role for the United Nations in the process of rebuilding Iraq. In a statement to the press Schröder noted that it will now be up to the coalition forces to do everything they can to see to it that conditions of law and order are restored and looting is prevented. Asked about setting up a civilian administration in Iraq, he said: "I think this will be the short-term task of those who are in the process of restoring public order there."

Schröder went on to say that once this is done it will be important to establish how the reconstruction process is to be organized and what role the United Nations will play in this connection. The details of this are to be clarified in talks between the United Nations and the coalition governments. In Schröder's view the reconstruction process must take place under the leadership of the United Nations: "This is right because of the experience the United Nations has and it will also provide legitimacy," Schröder said.

The statements made by President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Northern Ireland this week show that they too consider a role of this kind - they called it a "vital role" - to be important and right. "As such, it is my assumption that this is what will be jointly decided," Schröder noted optimistically.

The stated objective is to enable the Iraqi people to live their lives in peace and freedom. What is needed now is "is to turn military victory into a gain for the Iraqi people and for the entire region and, as such, also for the international community," Schröder emphasized.

Asked about a possible UN peacekeeping mission, Schröder answered that there is currently no sense in talking about the color of the helmets involved, adding that it is much too early to speculate about this.

Providing humanitarian assistance

He went on to say that Germany, like other countries, will help to finance humanitarian assistance provided on the basis of the UN resolution.

Schröder called to mind the fact that there are enormous resources in the country and that these resources should be used for reconstruction. Schröder noted that negotiations are currently being conducted on this at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, noting that these institutions are the best places for these issues to be discussed.

He indicated that the subject of debt rescheduling would need to be addressed in the framework of the Paris Club in which the creditor countries are organized. There is a lot that will have to be talked about, Schröder said, including this. "But decisions in this regard can't be taken yet. It's much too early for that".

Third meeting of the Petersburg Dialogue

Some 200 German and Russian participants from all areas of public life as well as members of the young elites of both countries took part in the meeting. Six working groups discussed German-Russian relations under a variety of headings (government, economics, civil society, culture, young people, media).

Chancellor Schröder and President Putin took part in the opening session of the Petersburg Dialogue discussion forum as well as a ceremony at the Philharmonic commemorating the 150th anniversary of Siemens relations with Russia.

After the ceremony Schröder stated that the Petersburg Dialogue had shown once again how important international relations are, adding that in light of the horrors experienced in the wars of the last century this is really not something that can simply be taken for granted. "We have noted in the Petersburg Dialogue that these relations have started to become a normal part of people's lives and to become deeply implanted in people's hearts and minds," Schröder observed.

The highlight of the Petersburg Dialogue was on April 12, when Chancellor Schröder was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by the rector of the University of St. Petersburg. Schröder also took part in a conference on international law together with Putin and Chirac. The conference heading was: "Peace, Security and International Law: A Look Ahead to the Future."

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