Sharon "welcome guest" in Germany

21st July 2004, Comments 0 comments

21 July 2004, BERLIN - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to visit Germany later this year and will be a "welcome guest," a spokesman for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Wednesday.

21 July 2004

BERLIN - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to visit Germany later this year and will be a "welcome guest," a spokesman for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Wednesday.

Reports that Sharon would come to Berlin in early September were false, said deputy spokesman Thomas Steg, adding that the trip would be later in the autumn.

Steg said Germany wanted to push forward dialogue with all parties in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"(Sharon) is a welcome guest of the German government," he added.

The German position contrasts with Sharon's fraught relations with close German ally France.

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier says ties are plagued by "a serious misunderstanding" after Sharon called for French Jews to move to Israel to escape French anti-Semitism.

Sharon's repeated declaration led to a statement from the office of French President Jacques Chirac that Sharon is currently "not welcome" in France.

Asked how Berlin reacted to Sharon's call, a German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman would only say that France, like Germany, was doing everything in its power to combat anti-Semitism.

"We should not further burden this issue with statements from here," said the spokeswoman.

DPA

Subject: German news

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