Germany gets ready for Bush visit

21st February 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 February 2005, MAINZ - US President George W. Bush is due to pay a whirlwind visit to Germany on Wednesday as part of a tour of Europe aimed at healing the rift in transatlantic relations. Massive security precautions were being put into effect for the presidential visit to the city of Mainz, about 60 kilometres southwest of Frankfurt, as authorities braced for demonstrations. Bush last visited Germany in May 2002, at a point before relations went into a nosedive in the runup to the US-led war against I

21 February 2005

MAINZ - US President George W. Bush is due to pay a whirlwind visit to Germany on Wednesday as part of a tour of Europe aimed at healing the rift in transatlantic relations.
Massive security precautions were being put into effect for the presidential visit to the city of Mainz, about 60 kilometres southwest of Frankfurt, as authorities braced for demonstrations.

Bush last visited Germany in May 2002, at a point before relations went into a nosedive in the runup to the US-led war against Iraq, which German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder pointedly opposed.

Leaders on both sides of the Atlantic now say the deep freeze is over and a new era of cooperation is about to begin, with the Bush tour of Europe designed to underscore this aim.

Bush faces a busy schedule while German security authorities will be on top alert for the visit lasting about eight hours.

Arriving from the NATO and EU summits in Brussels, Bush is set to land at the US Air Force Base at the Rhein-Main airport, with Schroeder on hand to welcome him.

The two leaders will then drive by motorcade to Mainz, with German authorities partly or completely shutting down parts of the autobahn for hours as a security precaution.

Stretches of the Rhine River, on which Mainz lies, will be closed to shipping traffic for a nine-hour period, while air space in a 60 kilometre radius around the city will be off-limits to private planes for the entire day.

The official programme calls for a welcome at the 16th-Century Electoral Palace by Rhineland-Palatinate State Premier Kurt Beck, followed by military honours in the palace courtyard.

Bush and Schroeder were then scheduled to hold 25 minutes of bilateral talks, followed by a joint press conference of 30 minutes. After a luncheon, the president was to hold what an advance press schedule described as a "roundtable" meeting with 24 "young leaders" from both countries.

At mid-afternoon, Bush and his wife Laura are to visit the Gutenberg Museum, devoted to Johann Gutenberg (1379-1468), who invented the printing press. In particular, the couple want to view Gutenberg Bibles dating to the mid-15th Century.

The programme concludes with a visit to US Army troops in the city of Wiesbaden, across the Rhine from Mainz after which the president heads to Rhein-Main Air Base to fly to his next destination, the Slovak capital Bratislava.

The visit will take place to the accompaniment of protest rallies and demonstrations organised under an alliance calling itself "Not welcome, Mr. Bush". A rally is due to take place on Tuesday evening at the Mainz city hall, to be followed by a march through the city on Wednesday.

Police are bracing for 5,000 to 10,000 demonstrators, while authorities have placed major restrictions, including the size of banners which the protesters may carry in their planned march through the city on Wednesday.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

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