PM Fogh Rasmussen told US Denmark ‘would undoubtedly give its support’ to an invasion of Iraq a year before the war

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 3rd July 2015

According to the daily newspaper Politiken, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense in George W Bush’s administration, that Denmark ‘would undoubtedly give its support’ to a US-led invasion of Iraq a year before that war started.

Politiken says this information is contained in a classified note that it has accessed in the archives of the Prime Minister’s Office. The note minutes a meeting at the Pentagon between Fogh Rasmussen and Wolfowitz on 27th March 2002, when they reportedly discussed Iraq.

At the time, Fogh Rasmussen’s public line was that no decision had been made about possible participation in military action against Iraq.

Fogh Rasmussen apparently told Wolfowitz that going to war would require proof that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessed and was developing weapons of mass destruction.

When it tabled a parliamentary motion – B118 – to participate in the invasion in Iraq, however, the Liberal-led coalition government with the Conservatives (and backed by the Danish People’s Party) cited Saddam Hussein’s failure to collaborate satisfactorily with the UN’s weapons inspectors as the reason for going to war.

The motion was adopted by a narrow majority in Folketinget, the Danish parliament, on 21st January 2003.

Whether Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed his comments at the meeting with Paul Wolfowitz, and his possible role as an early member of the US alliance against Saddam Hussein, with Per Stig Møller, the then Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the other members of the government is unclear: Fogh Rasmussen told Politiken that he did not wish to make any comments, while Møller ‘could not recall’ the meeting.

The report in the Danish daily Politiken comes the day after the commission charged with investigating the decision-making process behind Denmark’s participation in the war against Iraq (and later Afghanistan) – and its legitimacy under Danish and international law – was formally closed.

The commission was disbanded by the new Liberal minority government as one of its first acts after it took office on 29th June – according to Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen because ‘sufficient light has already been thrown’ on the decision-making process.

Due to internal disagreements and for other reasons, the commission, set up in 2012 by the coalition government of the Social Democrats, the Social Liberals and the Socialist People’s Party, had done little more than collect and read classified documents and prepare a time-line; the first interviews with leading politicians, civil servants and others would have been held later this year.

Click here to read Politiken‘s news story in Danish

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