German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, one of the fiercest critics of the U.S. -led war in Iraq, says he is in favor of Washington's drive to remove United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Mr. Schroeder and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met Friday in an attempt to mend U.S. -German relations, which were severely strained in the run-up to the war.

Mr. Powell told reporters his talks with the German leader were open and candid. "We talked about the disagreement of the past, and the seriousness of that disagreement, but we also talked about that which pulls us together," he said.

And what pulls the two countries together, according to Mr. Powell, is their history of close ties and their cooperation in Afghanistan, the Balkans, and the war against terrorists.

But Iraq was at the center of the talks between the two men.

In an effort, to mend fences with the Bush administration, Mr. Schroeder now says the sanctions against Iraq no longer make any sense, and should be lifted as soon as possible.

Mr. Powell says he is pleased with the chancellor's commitment to lift the sanctions. That, he says, will allow Iraqi oil to flow and generate revenue that, Mr. Powell says, will benefit the Iraqi people.