German official axed US trip due to snub: report

20th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

20 June 2005, BERLIN - German Defence Minister Peter Struck cancelled a trip to the United States, originally planned for this week, after being "snubbed" by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a German report on Saturday. The cancellation came Thursday after Struck was informed that Rumsfeld had pencilled in only 45 minutes for a meeting with him, and that other senior Pentagon and White House officials had signalled no interest at all in meeting with the German cabinet minister, said the repo

20 June 2005

BERLIN - German Defence Minister Peter Struck cancelled a trip to the United States, originally planned for this week, after being "snubbed" by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a German report on Saturday.

The cancellation came Thursday after Struck was informed that Rumsfeld had pencilled in only 45 minutes for a meeting with him, and that other senior Pentagon and White House officials had signalled no interest at all in meeting with the German cabinet minister, said the report in Der Spiegel news magazine.

A spokesman for Struck declined to comment on the report on Saturday, saying only that the trip had been "postponed to an as-yet-undetermined date owing to scheduling conflicts".

The magazine attributed the 'snub' to the perception in Washington that the fragile centre-left coalition of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is a lame duck government. Schroeder's Social Democrats face an uphill battle for re-election in Germany's general election, likely to be held in September.

Informed of Rumsfeld's schedule, Struck reportedly told an aide, "I generally allow three hours for a meeting with another defence minister."

He ordered Berlin's ambassador to Washington Wolfgang Ischinger to appeal to Rumsfeld for a longer meeting, saying, "If that cannot be arranged, then we'll turn around on the runway and head back for home," Der Spiegel quoted Struck as having said.

Adding insult to injury, Struck was also informed that a planned meeting in New York with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan would also have to be cancelled.

At that point, according to Der Spiegel, Struck decided to call off the U.S. visit.

DPA

Subject: German news

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