German foreign minister to tour Australia, Vietnam
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will embark Saturday on a tour of Oman, India, Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam for talks on international security and trade ties, his spokesman said.
Ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke told a regular news conference that the trip running until June 5 would start in Oman, where Westerwelle will meet Sultan Qaboos for talks on regional issues including the deadly unrest in neighbouring Yemen.
Berlin called this week on Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to accept a mediation offer by the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which Oman is a member.
He will continue on to New Delhi, where he will join Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first German-Indian joint cabinet meeting on global issues and bilateral economic ties.
The visit comes amid a rift between "developed" countries such as Germany and "developing" nations such as India over who will succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund.
In Australia, he will meet his counterpart Kevin Rudd and open the CeBIT Australia technology fair, whose parent event in the northern German city of Hanover is the world's largest high-tech gathering.
Westerwelle will hold political talks with Prime Minister John Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully in New Zealand before wrapping up the trip in Vietnam where he will meet members of the government and civil society representatives.
"We want to discuss how we can develop already close social and political ties," Peschke said.
© 2011 AFP