Merkel leaves for White House visit

4th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 January 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel left Thursday for Washington on her first foreign trip since Germany took over the rotating presidencies of the European Union and the Group of Eight industrial nations. Merkel is expected to discuss the Middle East and push for a reinvigoration of transatlantic trade relations at a meeting with US President George W Bush later on Thursday. German officials said Merkel would urge Bush to take a more proactive approach to dealing with the crisis betwee

4 January 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel left Thursday for Washington on her first foreign trip since Germany took over the rotating presidencies of the European Union and the Group of Eight industrial nations.

Merkel is expected to discuss the Middle East and push for a reinvigoration of transatlantic trade relations at a meeting with US President George W Bush later on Thursday.

German officials said Merkel would urge Bush to take a more proactive approach to dealing with the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and discuss ways to revive the Mideast Quartet of mediators comprised of the EU, Russia, the UN and the US.

Other issues expected to figure high on the agenda of the White House talks are the situation in Iraq, the Iranian nuclear programme and Afghanistan.

In an interview with the Financial Times on Wednesday, Merkel said she would seek to harmonize US and EU laws and standards in order to boost investment and trade in both directions.

"(A) transatlantic economic partnership," is a key part of the German EU presidency, Merkel told the newspaper.

Government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said creating an EU-US trade area was not meant as a substitute for the stalled Doha Round of world trade talks aimed at liberalising global trade.

Wilhelm also underlined that Europe's biggest economy was not seeking to forge a European-American trade fortress to keep out China and India.

Merkel is due to have a formal meeting and a joint news briefing with Bush followed by dinner in the White House. The chancellor is due to fly back to Germany late Thursday.

Germany took over the six-month presidency of the 27-nation EU from Finland on January 1, the same day as it assumed leadership of the G8 for 12 months.

G8 members are: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US.

Copyright DPA

Subject: German news

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