Chancellor Merkel makes first trip to Italy

19th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 December 2005, ROME - German leader Angela Merkel was expected in Rome on Monday for her first official visit to Italy as chancellor. Merkel was due to discuss bilateral and international issues with President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The purpose of her visit was to "further develop the good relations" between the two nations, Merkel's spokesman, Thomas Steg, said. It was unclear whether Merkel and Berlusconi - both leading members of Europe's Group of the European Peop

19 December 2005

ROME - German leader Angela Merkel was expected in Rome on Monday for her first official visit to Italy as chancellor.

Merkel was due to discuss bilateral and international issues with President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The purpose of her visit was to "further develop the good relations" between the two nations, Merkel's spokesman, Thomas Steg, said.

It was unclear whether Merkel and Berlusconi - both leading members of Europe's Group of the European People's Party - would discuss the reform of the United Nations' Security council, an issue that divides Rome and Berlin.

Merkel was travelling to Rome with her international reputation enhanced by her role in brokering a European Union budget deal over the weekend.

Her visit comes a day after a German archaeologist was freed in Iraq, three weeks after being taken hostage.

Unlike Germany, Italy actively backed the United States in its war to oust Saddam Hussein and has since sent peacekeeping troops to Iraq.

DPA

Subject: German news

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