[Marxism] German leader faults Cuba prison ofrevolution

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Jan 8 11:59:16 MST 2006

(We need a few more conservatives like Angela Merkel, that's for sure!)

German leader faults Cuba prison
Guantanamo Bay 'should not exist'
By Karin Strohecker, Reuters  |  January 8, 2006

BERLIN -- Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, in an interview before her first visit to the United States, said Washington should close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay and find other ways of dealing with suspects.

''An institution like Guantanamo can and should not exist in the longer term," Merkel said in an interview published in yesterday's edition of the weekly magazine Der Spiegel. ''Different ways and means must be found for dealing with these prisoners."

Merkel has vowed to repair ties with the United States, severely strained over the US-led Iraq invasion, which her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, opposed.

But there was no sign she would hesitate to speak out on issues where disagreement exists. Asked about her comments at a news conference later in the day, she said:

''That's my opinion and my view, and I'll say it elsewhere just as I have expressed it here."

She said she would not demand the immediate closure of the US prison when she meets President George W. Bush on Friday. ''My talks with leaders of other countries don't consist of my expressing demands, but of exchanging views," she said.

Guantanamo Bay is deeply unpopular in Germany.

There is widespread skepticism in Germany about the way the United States is fighting its ''war on terror."

This is compounded by the scandal over the CIA's abduction and detention of German citizen Khaled el-Masri -- which was later acknowledged to be a mistake.

Merkel told Der Spiegel she expected to speak to Bush about the fight against terrorism. ''But I want to accentuate that our relationship with the US will not be reduced to talking about fighting terrorism and the Iraq war," she added.

She also commented on Germany's relationship with Russia and the European Union. Merkel described relations with the United States as a ''friendship," but said the term ''strategic partnership" would be more fitting to describe Germany's ties with Moscow. ''I don't think we share as many of the same values yet with Russia as we do with the United States," she said. ''But we have a huge interest in seeing Russia develop in a sensible way."

Merkel, who will meet President Vladimir Putin in Moscow days after her Washington trip, often criticized Schroeder for forging ''exclusive" ties with Russia at the expense of relations with smaller EU countries.

In the interview, she said developments like the new law giving the Kremlin more control over nongovernmental organizations worried her, while the recent row between Ukraine and Russia over gas prices, which has made Germans question their reliance on Russia for gas, had reinforced the need for stable relations. ''We need to do everything to save as much energy as possible and diversify our sources," she said, adding that Germany would avoid letting Russia be its only supplier. 

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