BERLIN (AP) -- Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder rebuffed calls by Britain for Europe to help the United States against Iraq, saying Wednesday that Germany won't tone down its opposition to military action and won't "submit" to Washington.
In blunt comments, Schroeder said Tony Blair does not speak for all Europe, a day after the British prime minister declared Iraq "a real and unique threat" to world security and said the United States "should not have to face this issue alone."
The exchange highlighted international opposition to the prospect of a U.S. attack on Iraq -- despite Blair's attempts to rally support for Washington.
At the World Summit in Johannesburg, top European Union leaders met with Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday to lobby against any unilateral U.S. action to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, saying Washington should work through the United Nations for a return of weapons inspectors.
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Powell has assured him that Washington puts "the strongest importance" on international involvement in the Iraq case.
Schroeder defended his outspoken opposition to an attack on Iraq, which he has said could hurt the war on terrorism and cause chaos in the Middle East.
"Friendship cannot mean that you do what the friend wants even if you have another opinion," he told a news conference in Berlin. "Anything else would not be friendship, but submission -- and I would consider that wrong."
"With all respect for Tony Blair: Just like anyone else, he will not speak for Europe alone on this issue or on others," he said. "We have absolutely no reason to change our well-founded position. Under my leadership, Germany will not take part in an intervention in Iraq."
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