Allawi seeks German rebuilding help

Iraq wants German businesses to help rebuild the country but does not need any of its soldiers, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi was quoted saying.

    Iyad Allawi said Iraq does not need German soldiers

    In a guest column to appear on Sunday in the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper, Allawi said Iraq appreciated Germany's efforts to train Iraqi police and military in the United Arab Emirates as well as offers to write off a substantial amount of Iraq debt.

    "We're not asking Germany for troops," Allawi wrote. "We're hoping that German businesses will take part in the recon-struction of our country.

    "My people have long suffered under tyranny," he added. "With the help of the international community we now have the chance to build a life of stability, dignity and prosperity."

    German firms, especially construction and other infrastructure sectors, are involved in many large projects throughout the Middle East.

    "We appreciate the assistance in training our soldiers and police forces, and also regarding the reduction of our debt," Allawi added.

    Slip of the tongue

    Earlier in November, Allawi secured cash and pledges of help from EU leaders despite raising hackles by describing states that opposed the US-led war to oust Saddam Hussein as spectators.

    Schroeder has firmly opposed
    sending German troops to Iraq

    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq and has repeatedly refused to send any German forces to Iraq, called Allawi's comment a slip of the tongue.

    In April 2003, shortly after Saddam's Hussein's rule collapsed, the US House of Representatives passed a measure to bar German, French and Russian companies from winning business in Iraq after the war they resisted. The measure did not become law.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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