Iraqi leader to visit Germanydespite postponing French trip

3rd September 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 September 2004 , PARIS/BERLIN - Iraqi Interim President Ghazi al-Yawer has postponed a four-day visit to France because of the kidnap of two French journalists, an Arab diplomatic source said Friday, but a Berlin spokesman said a three-day visit to Berlin would go ahead. "Given the current situation, especially the taking of the hostages, it was agreed by both sides to postpone the visit," said the Paris source, who spoke under condition of anonymity. Newsmen Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot as we

3 September 2004

PARIS/BERLIN - Iraqi Interim President Ghazi al-Yawer has postponed a four-day visit to France because of the kidnap of two French journalists, an Arab diplomatic source said Friday, but a Berlin spokesman said a three-day visit to Berlin would go ahead.

"Given the current situation, especially the taking of the hostages, it was agreed by both sides to postpone the visit," said the Paris source, who spoke under condition of anonymity.

Newsmen Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot as well as their Syrian driver were kidnapped 20 August in the city of Najaf by Islamic militants.

Al-Yawer's Paris visit, scheduled to take place 5 to 8 September was to have been the first stage of a European trip that will take him to Berlin, Rome and Brussels.

Al-Yawer is now scheduled to arrive in Germany next Wednesday, a day earlier than planned, government spokesman Bela Anda said in Berlin. The official welcome by Germany's mainly ceremonial President Horst Koehler with military honours remains scheduled for Thursday.

Talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on stabilizing and reconstructing Iraq follow, along with meetings with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wiezcorek-Zeul, before al-Yawer leaves 10 September for Rome.

Schroeder recently announced that Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi too will later pay a visit to Berlin.

Germany strictly disapproved of the US invasion of Iraq and refuses to send any peacekeepers or police, but says it wants to help the new government. Schroeder says the Germans will train the Iraqi police on a site in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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