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Daniel Fried IV With Westdeutscher Radio

Interview with Public Broadcaster Westdeutscher Radio Correspondent Thomas Nehls

Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs

Berlin, Germany
November 14, 2005

Question: So, I wonder how diplomatic the answer will be if I ask you about your expectations regarding the new government that is coming up, the Grand Coalition, with old fellows, with new ladies and gentlemen in the cabinet. So will there be any substantial change in your opinion, between your country and Germany.

Assistant Secretary Fried: We look forward to a partnership with Germany which is outwardly focused, and by that I mean the United States and Europe in general, and the United States and Germany in particular, have the ability -- and therefore the obligation -- to act in the world to promote freedom, prosperity, and security, whether in the broader Middle East -- Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel-Palestinian issues -- or whether along Europe's frontiers of freedom -- the Balkans, south Caucuses, Ukraine, working with Russia. We have a lot to do in the world together. The United States needs Germany. The United States needs Europe to succeed. We need each other, and we look forward to partnership with Germany.

Question: Regarding the status right now of the relationship between the United States and Germany, in your opinion, is there any need to repair right now?

Assistant Secretary Fried: I wouldn't put it in terms of repair. I think that the last two times that President Bush and Chancellor Schröder met -- in Mainz in February and in May or June in Washington -- they certainly made clear that they wanted to work together. No, the issue is not repair, but the issue is what we do now to put that U.S.-German relationship to work in common purpose, in a partnership for the future.

Question: Maybe in some words, Mr. Fried, you could describe the possible future of NATO consultations. There's a lot of talk about how it could be practiced to deepen the consultations over there in NATO, and where, and how many times, in a regular form. So what could be a role model?

Assistant Secretary Fried: We believe in multilateralism; we believe in a strong NATO as the central pillar of the transatlantic relationship. We want to consult with NATO not simply to make operational decisions, but to have strategic consultations with Europe. And we have started this process. We have sent senior people, senior Americans, to NATO to meet with their counterparts to discuss issues such as the Middle East or Asia, and we want to continue this process. We see NATO as a central institution for the democratic world of the European-American community to advance its security interests in the world, whether this is helping earthquake victims in Pakistan, supporting the African Union in Darfur, supporting peace and security in Kosovo, reaching out to countries in cooperation in the broader Middle East, or, most spectacularly, supporting security in Afghanistan. NATO is an institution which has never been in its entire history as active as it is today, and it's future will be even more so. Therefore we need to consult to make NATO as effective as it can be. And, by the way, you haven't heard me say and won't hear me say, about coalitions of the wiling; it's about NATO.

Question: Very last question. When do you expect Mrs. Merkel in Washington -- with or without Mr. Steinmeier?

Assistant Secretary Fried: Well, I certainly accept that we will work, my administration will work very closely with Chancellor Merkel. We look forward to a strong, good relationship. I hope to see her in Washington soon. I'm not here to convey a date. The coalition talks have just ended, the parties have to vote to accept the coalition, but we are looking forward to a good, warm, productive relationship with her, and with the new coalition government coming into being.

Question: Thank you very much.

Assistant Secretary Fried: My pleasure.


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