‘CIA flights’ cast shadow over Steinmeier US visit
28 November 2005
BERLIN – Secret CIA prisoner flights across Europe cast a shadow over the first trip to the United States by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier since the new German government took office less than a week ago.
The circumstances under which Steinmeier was meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were “anything but normal”, the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper said in an editorial.
Referring to repeated reports that the U.S. intelligence had transferred terror suspects across Europe in secret flights to so-called “black sites”, where they had been tortured, the newspaper called for clarity.
“The U.S. administration has a big opportunity here to set a few things straight. It would be a clever move to do this with the new German foreign minister,” the conservative daily said.
German politicians from across the political spectrum have in recent days demanded clarification of reports that U.S. airbases in Germany were used during the period 2002-04 for dozens of secret CIA flights.
Steinmeier was flying to New York Monday to meet U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and the leaders of Jewish organizations.
The German foreign minister was then flying to Washington to meet Rice on Tuesday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to visit Washington early next year.
Subject: German news