Iran, Guantanamo themes of Bush-Merkel talks

11th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 July 2006, STRALSUND/HEILIGENDAMM - Police in the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern began Monday putting into place tough security restrictions ahead of US President George W. Bush's three- day visit this week, which is likely to be dominated by concerns about nuclear issues.

11 July 2006

STRALSUND/HEILIGENDAMM - Police in the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern began Monday putting into place tough security restrictions ahead of US President George W. Bush's three- day visit this week, which is likely to be dominated by concerns about nuclear issues.

Bush arrives in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which was previously part of communist East Germany for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel before flying on to St Petersburg for a meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations.

"We are both interested in a reliable and close relationship," said Merkel in an interview Monday with the Bonn daily General- Anzeiger published as part of the build-up to the Bush visit.

Speaking in a series of German media interviews, she said that the main themes of the visit would be the G-8 summit along with the nuclear conflict with Iran and North Korea's nuclear rocket programme along with the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

The Bush visit to Germany is likely to follow talks between the EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana and Iran's chief negotiator Ali Laridschani over Teheran's nuclear ambitions.

In the meantime, the American leader's hotel at the historic coastal resort of Heiligendamm has already been surrounded by an extensive security fence with the nearby sea area having been cordoned off.

Security fences and blockades have also been erected in the small town of Stralsund, which is to be a focus of Bush's visit to Germany with drains in the towns also sealed off.

About 12,000 police have been deployed for the visit, which takes in part of Merkel's parliamentary electorate.

Meanwhile, organisers of an anti-Bush-demonstration planned for Stralsund during his visit applied to a local court for the strict conditions imposed by authorities to be lifted.

Despite the security measures, the US consul general in Hamburg, Duane C. Butcher said he expected the president "to meet and to see as many people as possible."

Bush is expected to arrive at the nearby Rostock airport on Wednesday evening.

After a round of talks on Thursday, Bush is to be a guest at a local barbeque.

As the preparations for the president's visit were stepped up Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Premier Harald Ringstorff criticized Merkel for forcing the Bush programme on her electorate.

DPA

Subject: German news

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