Chancellor Merkel arrives in Abu Dhabi

5th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 February 2007, Abu Dhabi (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived Monday in the United Arab Emirates in continuing her four-nation tour of Arab states. The Berlin leader immediately went into talks with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on topics such as strengthening economic relations between the two countries. Merkel said she hopes her trip will strengthen economic relations between Europe and the Arab world. A free trade agreement between the European Union and the six most impo

5 February 2007

Abu Dhabi (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived Monday in the United Arab Emirates in continuing her four-nation tour of Arab states.

The Berlin leader immediately went into talks with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on topics such as strengthening economic relations between the two countries.

Merkel said she hopes her trip will strengthen economic relations between Europe and the Arab world. A free trade agreement between the European Union and the six most important Gulf States is expected to be concluded shortly.

"There is on both sides the political will for a speedy solution," the German chancellor said earlier after meeting the general secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdul Rahman, in Riyadh.

A ministerial meeting between EU trade chief Peter Mandelson and ministers of the GCC states - Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - is planned for the end of April.

Merkel also said Monday that the European Union would do what it could to help support the negotiations between the rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah. Germany currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency.

"We will do everything in our power to help make these talks be successful," Merkel said about the Hamas-Fatah negotiations which were set to start on Tuesday to try to end their conflict and seek ways to set up a national unity government.

Merkel said she was grateful to Saudi Arabia for its efforts to bring the two parties to the negotiating table, and added the EU was in close contact with the two parties.

Abu Dhabi is the third stop on Merkel's tour which began Saturday in Egypt and continued on Sunday in Saudi Arabia. She was scheduled to travel on to the Emirates city of Dubai on Tuesday and then to Kuwait the same day before returning home.

As well as the EU presidency, Germany currently holds the year- long chairmanship of the Group of Eight nations, with Merkel's tour part of Berlin's efforts to give a boost to the Mideast peace process as well as improve Germany's bilateral ties in the region.

DPA

Subject: German news

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