German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Sunday sent a congratulatory message to US President George W. Bush on the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
"With much happiness I learned about the arrest of Saddam Hussein. I congratulate you on this successful action," Schroeder said in the message.
He also hoped that Saddam's arrest would lead to increased stability in postwar Iraq. "I hope that his arrest will support the efforts of the international community to rebuild and stabilize Iraq," he said.
The German government had staunchly opposed the US-led Iraq war, but has managed to repair the soured German-US relations in the past few months. Schroeder has pledged Germany's support in rebuilding Iraq.
But earlier this month, the US government announced to exclude companies from the nations that opposed the US-led war, clearly referring to France, Germany and Russia, from bidding for contracts in rebuilding Iraq.
US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz cited "essential security interests" of the United States and the need to encourage countries to provide troops for Iraq as the reason for limiting competition for prime contracts in Iraq's reconstruction needs.
The 26 contracts suggested by the United States, from equipping the Iraqi army to building roads, water, power and communication systems, amount to 18.6 billion US dollars in value.
The Pentagon listed 63 countries as eligible to bid for these contracts. France, Germany, Russia, Canada and other nations that opposed the war and declined to send troops to take part in the postwar occupation of Iraq, were absent from the list. Germany had repeatedly expressed its fury over the US decision.