Berlin: Gerhard Schroeder hit back on Wednesday
at claims by former US president George W. Bush in his newly
released memoirs that the German ex-chancellor had broken his
word over support for an invasion of Iraq.
"Former American president Bush is not telling the
truth," Schroeder said in a statement.
Bush said in his memoirs that he told Schroeder in an
Oval Office meeting in January 2002 he was determined to make
diplomacy work but cautioned that while the military option
was Washington`s last choice, he would use it if necessary.
"What is true of Afghanistan is true of Iraq," Bush
quotes Schroeder as saying. "Nations that sponsor terror must
face consequences. If you make it fast and make it decisive, I
will be with you."
Schroeder was against the March 2003 invasion,
stridently rejecting what he branded a military "adventure",
and his opposition is seen as one of the main reasons for his
re-election in September 2002.
"I continued to work with Gerhard Schroeder on areas
of mutual interest. But as someone who valued personal
diplomacy, I put a high premium on trust. Once that trust was
violated, it was hard to have a constructive relationship
again," Bush says in his book "Decision Points" released
Schroeder confirmed today that he had told Bush that
he would "stand reliably on the side of the US" if it was
confirmed that Iraq was sheltering those responsible for the
September 11, 2001 attacks.
"But this link, as it became clear during 2002, was
false and contrived. This goes for reasons (for the invasion)
given by Bush and (vice president Dick) Cheney too.
"As we know today, the Bush administration`s reasons
for the Iraq war were based on lies."
France`s then-president Jacques Chirac also opposed
the war, and a deep transatlantic rift ensued until the end of
Schroeder`s tenure and the election of Angela Merkel as
chancellor in 2005, when relations began to thaw.