re: remember afghanistan a german view.

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    This recent address by Gerhard Schroder, Chancellor of Germany, is a world apart from our own self educated anti-American world affairs "experts". ( International Herald Tribune, Paris, 20th September 2003)

    BERLIN. Terrorism continues to be a very serious risk to security and stability in the world. With the fight against terrorism far from over, Germans and Americans stand united in the battle. Together, we will prevail.

    For many months now, German soldiers have been fighting side by side with American troops in Afghanistan, once a haven and a logistical base for international terrorism. I am firmly convinced that we have no choice but to continue on in this common struggle, given the threat that global terrorism and Al Qaeda pose to the international community.

    I put my own political future on the line in 2001 when I asked the German Bundestag for a vote of confidence for sending troops to Afghanistan, a military commitment unprecedented for Germany.

    Until very recently, German troops played a leading role in the International Security Assistance Force, which has brought a measure of stability and order to Kabul and the surrounding areas. Though the force is now commanded by NATO, a German NATO general is in charge.

    Freeing Afghanistan from the bondage of the Taliban and Al Qaeda was an exceptional accomplishment. Now, however, we must focus our efforts on helping a troubled country introduce democracy and rebuild itself under extremely difficult circumstances. Germany is therefore prepared to participate in extending the reconstruction program beyond Kabul and to assign military personnel to protect civilian aid workers and organizations.

    It would be tragic, both for the Afghan people and the international community, if this country were to relapse into tyranny or once more become a breeding ground for terrorists. We have a joint responsibility to prevent this, for it is in our common interest and in keeping with our common values.

    German-American cooperation is solid in other areas as well. Our troops are working with American forces in the Balkans to ensure stability there. Our navy is helping to patrol the Horn of Africa, protecting international sea routes. And more than 8,000 German troops are participating in peacekeeping missions around the world.

    In the fight against terrorism, German intelligence services and law enforcement are working closely with American and other international partners. And on the diplomatic front, Germany and its European partners are doing their utmost with Washington to bring forward the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Our commitment to peace in the Middle East, based on the security of Israel and the right of the Palestinian people to form a state of their own, is a pillar of our foreign policy.

    It is true that Germany and the United States disagreed on how best to deal with Saddam Hussein's regime. There is no point in continuing this debate. We should now look toward the future. We must work together to win the peace. The United Nations must play a central role. The international community has a key interest in ensuring that stability and democracy are established as quickly as possible in Iraq. The international mission needs greater legitimacy in order to accelerate the process leading to a government acting on its own authority in Iraq.

    In addition to its current military involvement in Afghanistan, the Balkans and elsewhere, Germany is willing to provide humanitarian aid, to assist in the civilian and economic reconstruction of Iraq and to train Iraqi security forces.

    When we gather in New York next week for the United Nations General Assembly, we will underline that Germany and the United States are linked by a profound friendship based on common experiences and values. For Germans, the 2003 Assembly is very special. It was exactly 30 years ago that Germany was admitted to the United Nations, a milestone in our postwar history. Back then, Germans were still forced to live in two states, divided by a wall and a dangerous border. Today, Germany is united.

    We Germans will not forget how the United States helped and supported us in rebuilding and reuniting our country. That Germany is living today in a peaceful, prosperous and secure Europe is thanks in no small measure to America's friendship, farsightedness and political determination.

    Beginning with President Harry S. Truman, all American presidents have supported and encouraged European integration. This remains a wise policy, for a strong and united Europe is also in the interest of the United States. With the adoption of a European constitution and the enlargement of the European Union, Europe is opening an important new chapter in unity. Germany, as a civilian power in the heart of Europe, knows from its own history that cooperation and integration are conditions for security and prosperity.

    Not until after the fall of the wall and unification did Germany fully regain its sovereignty. Today we are a full member in the international community - with all the rights and obligations this entails. Germany's role in the world has changed and so has our foreign policy.

    My country is willing to shoulder more responsibility. This may entail using military force as a last resort in resolving conflicts.

    However, we must not forget that security in today's world cannot be guaranteed by one country going it alone; it can be achieved only through international cooperation. Nor can security be limited to the activities of the police and the military. If we want to make our world freer and safer, we must fight the roots of insecurity, oppression, fanaticism and poverty - and we must do it together.

    The writer is chancellor of Germany.
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