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Fischer: Germany Joining forces to achieve peace

Fischer: Germany Joining forces to achieve peace

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said joint efforts on the part of the United States and Europe could pave the way for peace in the Middle East, adding that the United States would necessarily play a central role in this.

He noted that there is also a need to reflect on the role Europe could play in helping to resolve international conflicts within the NATO framework. Even as the world's strongest power America still needs Europe, Fischer commented.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer sees good chances for improving European-American relations. The political challenges being faced in the Middle East hold out an opportunity to overcome past tensions and find a new basis for transatlantic relations, Fischer told the German edition of the Financial Times (July 24 issue).

He said what is involved here is not just the reconstruction and democratization of Iraq but the region as a whole - a task that will probably take years and even decades to complete. "First of all, this is a necessary task. Secondly, it will require a joint effort. Thirdly, it will presuppose a strategic dialogue," Fischer told the newspaper, adding that the United States would necessarily play a central role in the region.

"Alone, even the strongest power is not strong enough"

Fischer noted that the differences that existed over going to war in Iraq ended when the war began and since then the focus has been on winning the peace. He said the coalition forces are responsible for ensuring stability and security in Iraq and that "we are not part of that coalition". He went on to say that the initiative to include the United Nations and to create a larger role for the Europeans in Iraq will have to come from the United States, adding that America needs a strong Europe. "Alone, even the strongest power is not strong enough." Fischer feels there is a need to reflect on transatlantic partnership and NATO in the context of a changing Europe.

Fischer said that Europe failed to conduct strategic situation analysis after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. "What does 9/11 mean for us with regard to our most important alliance partner, the United States? What does it mean for the world? And what does it mean for transatlantic relations?" An analysis of this kind did not take place at the European level. The reactions that did take place were at the national level. Fischer stressed that it had always been clear that "if there are no other options left, we do not rule out the use of force as a last resort, but only if there are really no other options left and not merely as the next option".

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