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Germany: Schroeder To Offer Bush Help In Iraq

Berlin, 18 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has said Germany is prepared to help train Iraqi police and soldiers. Schroeder said in an interview published today in the "Handelsblatt" business daily that the offer is independent of any UN resolution on Iraq's postwar reconstruction. Last week, Schroeder told the German parliament that more and better-trained Iraqi police are essential.

Schroeder today reiterated that the United Nations must play an important role in Iraq, but accepted it is not "in the short term" able to provide security.

Schroeder is expected to meet U.S. President George W. Bush next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. It would be the first time they have held face-to-face talks in more than a year because of their dispute over the invasion of Iraq.

A German government spokesman said talks, although not officially confirmed as yet, are "very likely" to go ahead.