German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has reiterated that his country would not send troops to Iraq while the United States gears up for a possible war against Iraq.
"I have no intention of changing my stance," said Schroeder in an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper published on Tuesday.
During his election campaign in August, He expressed his stancefor the first time that Germany would not participate in a US-led war against Iraq even if there would be a UN mandate.
"Those who are still discussing how Germany will act if the Iraq conflict has to be solved through military means are making amistake," he told the newspaper. "It is like this, and it will remain to be like this."
The United States has been angered by Schroeder's opposition and bilateral relations have soured.
While admitting his policy on Iraq may have damaged his standing in the United States, Schroeder stressed, "I can't make Germany's policy dependent on that."
Schroeder reiterated his commitment to the US-led war on terrorism, a policy he has pursued after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but said a war against Iraq is a different thing.
Schroeder has recently fine-tuned his anti-war stance by promising to allow US troops' free movements at their military bases in Germany in the event of war and send German troops to protect US military installations.
German soldiers operating NATO's Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance planes will remain on board should theplanes be used in a war against Iraq, Schroeder said.
He said these possible moves by Germany did not mean that German troops would actively participate in the war. The promised measures are viewed as efforts to repair the chilled relations between Germany and the United States.