Rice to meet Schroeder ahead of Bush visit

28th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

28 January 2005 , Washington - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to hold talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin next month as part of a wider trip by America's new chief diplomat to the Middle East and Europe.

28 January 2005  

Washington - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to hold talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin next month as part of a wider trip by America's new chief diplomat to the Middle East and Europe.

Schroeder talks with Rice will also help to set the stage for a meeting in Germany between the Chancellor and US President George W. Bush.

Rice trip, which will includes Israel and the West Bank along with eight European countries will be her first major trip since taking over as Secretary of State.

The seven-day trip is to begin 3 February and was aimed at promoting Bush's vision to promote democracy and freedom and work on an international agenda for this year with her counterparts, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The topics will include the Middle East peace process, Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terrorism, weapons proliferation, and combating disease and poverty, Boucher said.

"She looks forward to working with European allies to advance the Middle East peace process," he said.

In addition to Germany, she is to visit Britain, Poland, Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey. The dates for the stops in each country were still being worked out, he said.

While in Paris, Rice plans to deliver a foreign policy speech, a senior State Department official said. The official said the trip to the Israel and the West Bank was meant to "get engaged" in the peace process.

Bush has pledged during his second term to restrengthen ties with European countries, such as France and Germany, after relations were badly frayed over the Iraq war.

The president's trip to Germany forms part of a wdier European visit which will be his first major trip abroad since being sworn in to a second term last week. 

By the end of spring, Boucher said, Rice and her designated deputy, current US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, plan to visit capitals of all 26 members of NATO.

"That's one of their goals they've set for themselves as they come on, and this will be a start for that with eight European countries as well as Israel and the West Bank," Boucher said.

Rice took her post as head of the State Department Thursday morning after being sworn in the previous night. The Senate on Wednesday voted to confirm Bush's former national security adviser to replace Colin Powell after a contentious debate about the Iraq war.

The Senate has yet to take up Zoellick's nomination to become deputy secretary of state. 

[Copyright DPA with Expatica 2005]

Subject: German news 

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