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‘US pursuing own oil interests’

Berlin, Feb. 19 (Reuters): A German Cabinet minister poured fuel on the flames of a transatlantic row over Iraq today by saying the US was pursuing its own oil interests in its conflict with Baghdad.

Environment minister Juergen Trittin made the accusation in an interview with Die Welt newspaper, remarks likely to put added strain on relations already at a post-war low over Germany’s opposition to any US-led war to disarm Iraq.

“A war is not justified. This debate is distracting from the real interests of the United States,” Trittin told Die Welt. “Those are geo-strategic and oil interests. The critics are quite right with their motto ‘No war for oil’”.

The comments are the most strident by a German minister since Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder sacked his justice minister last year for likening US President George W. Bush’s tactics to those of Adolf Hitler.

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