Javier Solana meets with Angela Merkel in Berlin

9th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2006, Berlin/London/Baghdad (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Union chief diplomat Javier Solana had talks Thursday focused on the Middle East and other major international issues, an EU spokeswoman said. Merkel and Solana also discussed Germany's upcoming EU presidency. Germany takes the helm of the EU for the first half of 2007. Solana later visited German troops in Kiel and had talks with Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung. In an interview with Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspape

9 November 2006

Berlin/London/Baghdad (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Union chief diplomat Javier Solana had talks Thursday focused on the Middle East and other major international issues, an EU spokeswoman said.

Merkel and Solana also discussed Germany's upcoming EU presidency. Germany takes the helm of the EU for the first half of 2007.

Solana later visited German troops in Kiel and had talks with Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung.

In an interview with Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper, Solana said the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as US defence secretary would lead to changes in Washington's Iraq policy.

US President George W Bush is using the departure of Rumsfeld to signal that "there will be a few changes in the way the war is being fought in Iraq," said Solana as quoted by the newspaper.

Meanwhile Britain made clear Thursday it was staying the course in Iraq as main US ally following the poll setbacks of Bush and the departure of Rumsfeld.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett warned against any "precipitous moves" to pull British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, warning that "we have to have the courage of our convictions".

Commenting on the US mid-term election results, she did not believe they would lead to a major change in Iraq policy, although a "reassessment" was likely.

In Baghdad, Iraqi politicians welcomed with near unanimity the resignation of Rumsfeld, which MP Baha al-Araji, a leading member of the radical movement of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, called "proof of the Americans' failed military strategy and policies in Iraq."

Nadim al-Jarabri of the Shiite Fadhila party said that under Rumsfeld's watch, Iraq had gone "from an abominable dictatorship to abominable chaos."

Australian Prime Minister John Howard reaffirmed the Australian government's support for the Iraq war and said he believed the Bush administration would stay firm as well.

Howard described Rumsfeld's departure as "gesture politics" to assuage disquiet over the war in Iraq. "I understand that, and a tough bloke like Rumsfeld will understand it as well," he added.

DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article