Schroeder launches Asian visit

5th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 October 2004, BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder leaves later Tuesday on a seven-day trip to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Vietnam highlighted by a European Union and Asia summit in Hanoi. Schroeder's first stop is India on 6 to 7 October where he will have talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and give a foreign policy speech at the Rajiv Ghandi Foundation. The Chancellor will be accompanied in India by executives from 22 German companies including insurance giant Allianz, Lufthan

5 October 2004

BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder leaves later Tuesday on a seven-day trip to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Vietnam highlighted by a European Union and Asia summit in Hanoi.

Schroeder's first stop is India on 6 to 7 October where he will have talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and give a foreign policy speech at the Rajiv Ghandi Foundation.

The Chancellor will be accompanied in India by executives from 22 German companies including insurance giant Allianz, Lufthansa, media heavyweight Bertelsmann and MAN-Ferrostahl.

No major trade deals are expected during the trip, officials said, adding, however that India's projected need for USD 500 billion (EUR 407 billion) worth of infrastructure projects through 2012 meant Germany had excellent chances of improving trade ties. Many more business leaders had wanted to fly with Schroeder but the Chancellery imposed strict limits, the officials added.

Bilateral trade between Germany and India is presently worth about EUR 5 billion annually.

Schroeder then travels to Vietnam on 8 and 9 October where he will take part in the fifth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) from 7 to 9 October.

Leaders of the 25 European Union states and 13 Asian nations will hold talks on global security, the world economy and other issues including the human rights situation in Burma/Myanmar.

Moves to deepen multilateral approaches to international relations and bolstering the World Trade Organisation (WTO) - as opposed to regional free trade agreements - will also top the agenda, officials said.

"Some 50 percent of the total global GDP will be represented at the meeting," said the official.

Schroeder is due to have bilateral meetings on the ASEM sidelines with leaders of Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and probably a number of other nations, said German officials.

After separate talks with Vietnamese leaders, Schroeder travels to Pakistan 10 October  for a meeting with President Pervez Musharraf focused on what German officials term "a dialogue with enlightened Islam."

Terrorism and Afghanistan will be the other major issues at the the meeting, the official said.

Schroeder will be accompanied in Pakistan by a separate group of business executives from Germany's "Mittelstand" (small and medium-sized companies).

Officials said no major trade or political deals were expected in Pakistan aside from a 46 million euro contract for railway locomotives and possibly a cement factory deal.

German officials insist that Schroeder will go ahead ahead with the planned Afghan leg of his trip despite security concerns.

Last week a senior official - speaking on the condition of anonymity - had warned Schroeder might eliminate the Afghan visit after a grenade attack injured several German soldiers serving in the country.

Germany has over 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan as part of NATO's 7,000-member International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) created by the United Nations in 2001 after the overthrow of the Taliban by a United States-led coalition.

Schroeder is scheduled to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai as well as German troops and UN officials.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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