The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Consensus on UN Iraq role

Berlin, May 28: Germany and India believe that sooner or later the UN would have to get involved in rebuilding the political institutions in post-war Iraq. The American-British Authority currently ruling Iraq, they believe, would not be able to deal with the emerging political processes.

Iraq, the West Asia peace process and Afghanistan figured prominently in the meetings Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as well as with foreign minister Joschka Fischer.

While India is considering a proposal for sending troops to Iraq for stabilisation and security operations, Germany has no such plans. But, like India, it was also opposed to the US intervention in Iraq without the sanction of the United Nations. Both are wary of a unipolar world and share the vision of a cooperative multipolar international order.

Claiming that there was convergence of views between India and Germany on Iraq, external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha said that in today’s meetings the two sides showed complete understanding on the emerging situation in Iraq.

“There was agreement that the UN Security Council Resolution (Number 1483) is a step forward and that it has brought back the unity of the Security Council. Both sides agreed on the importance of the UN role in post-war Iraq. There was a complete understanding that the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the secular character of Iraq must be maintained in a democratic framework,” Sinha said.

He claimed that Germany shared India’s concern about the rise of Islamic elements in Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow. Sinha said the two sides also discussed whether giving proportional representation in the political process on the basis of ethnicity would prove to be compatible with democracy in Iraq.

The minister said the two sides discussed the possibility of regional stability growing into an even bigger problem if the concerns about Iran become more acute. The US has alleged that al Qaida elements have taken shelter in Iran.

“The recent developments have caused some concern. However, both India and Germany hope that whatever be the issue in Iran, it would be resolved through dialogue,” Sinha said.

The two countries also exchanged views about the new West Asia peace plan.

Sinha said both hoped that all the stakeholders would stick to the roadmap and that the Palestinian state would be formed within the time period specified. This alone, he said, would help stabilise the region.

India also shared its concerns about the developments in Afghanistan — especially about the return of the remnants of the Taliban and al Qaida. It informed Germany about its own role in stabilising the regime in Kabul and its assistance in reconstruction.

Germany currently heads the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) which polices Kabul. The possibility of extending the ISAF’s role to areas outside Kabul was discussed but no firm view taken.

Germany conveyed its position to India that any extension of the ISAF’s role and German forces being contributed to it would require a UN mandate in terms of a resolution and an assessment of its own resources to do so.

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