Bush Praises German Peacekeeping Efforts
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush praised Germany's efforts at the head of peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan and said Friday it was a big change from six months ago when Germany opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq).
Bush said he intended to thank German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for what his country had done in Afghanistan but did not say when. Bush last spoke to Schroeder briefly at an economic summit meeting in France in June.
Speaking to reporters with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld at his side, Bush said the United States was working hard to bring other nations to help in the aftermath of the war in Iraq. Then he switched to Afghanistan.
"Germany is taking a very active role in Afghanistan, and we're very thankful for that," Bush said. "As NATO steps forward, Germany has assumed a big responsibility. And we really appreciate the German participation."
He said the reason he brought up Germany's role in Afghanistan was to show "a change from six months ago."
Germany along with the Netherlands took over leadership of the peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan on Feb. 10, six months ago Sunday. Control is expected to be turned over to NATO soon.
Bush described Germany's performance as "robust - more robust than we would have anticipated. I look forward to thanking Chancellor Schroeder for that."
The International Security and Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the force under joint German and Dutch command, which includes 5,000 troops from 19 countries. Its main task is to ensure order in Kabul, the capital, where rebels have killed peacekeepers and launched regular attacks against government targets.
[Source: News Yahoo, 09aug03]
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