New German FM to visit US before end of year

22nd November 2005, Comments 0 comments

22 November 2005, BERLIN - Incoming German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday he planned to visit the United States before the end of the year.

22 November 2005

BERLIN - Incoming German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday he planned to visit the United States before the end of the year.

Speaking to journalists in Berlin after Angela Merkel had been elected chancellor and before she and her cabinet had been formally sworn in, Steinmeier said he had been in contact by phone with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"We are discussing a date that should be before Christmas," he said.

Steinmeier predicted there would be no major change in German-U.S. relations.

For the past three years, these relations had followed "a good course", he said in reference to a major break in late 2002, when outgoing chancellor Gerhard Schroeder made clear Germany would not back the pending U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Steinmeier is travelling Wednesday with Merkel to Paris for talks with President Jacques Chirac and to Brussels to meet European Union and NATO leaders.

He described German-French relations as more important than ever for Europe, referring in particular to the need to agree a long-term E.U. budget.

Merkel travels to London to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair Thursday evening.

Steinmeier said that during December he planned to visit the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

DPA

Subject: German news

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