Sun, Nov 07, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Congratulations flow to Bush

SECOND TERM World leaders lined up to pass on their best wishes for Bush's next term, but Germany's foreign minister made it clear Germany will not bend on Iraq


Relaxing at Camp David, US President George W. Bush received congratulatory phone calls from German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and other foreign leaders on Friday even as Germany's defense minister renewed his government's vow not to send troops to Iraq.

At the Maryland presidential retreat for a few days of rest, Bush thanked voters who supported him and looked ahead to a second term in remarks recorded for his weekly radio address to be broadcast yesterday. Chief of Staff Andrew Card and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice accompanied him for the weekend.

Bush also claimed the last state of the presidential election, winning Iowa after a prolonged count of absentee ballots. By Friday, Bush had 745,980 votes and his Democratic opponent, John Kerry, had 732,764, and the number of outstanding ballots was too few to change the outcome. With Iowa decided, Bush had 286 electoral votes to Kerry's 252.

In congratulating Bush, Schroeder said he had great expectations for further cooperation between Germany and the US on a range of issues.

Schroeder has said that both countries have a mutual interest in ensuring the success of Iraq's reconstruction.

Still, "there is no participation of German troops in Iraq, and there won't be one in the future," German Defense Minister Peter Struck was quoted as saying in comments published on Friday by the Passauer Neue Presse daily.

Last week, Struck appeared to suggest that Berlin could change its mind on an Iraqi troop deployment if the circumstances were right.

Schroeder swiftly dismissed talk of a shift, but German journalists and opposition politicians speculated that Struck was preparing for a change in German policy should Kerry defeat Bush.

Schroeder vehemently opposed the US-led war in Iraq. The two governments have moved to repair relations, with Germany offering to help rebuild the country and to train new Iraqi police and military.

Other foreign leaders who telephoned Bush on Friday were Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Salvadoran President Antonio Saca, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also called Bush.

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