German President To Visit Israel Under New Govt

File photo: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks in front of nominees for the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz) for their services during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic,

 

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will travel to Israel later this month to hold talks with its new government after the ouster of Benjamin Netanyahu, his office said Monday.

The state visit, scheduled for June 30 to July 2, will allow Steinmeier to “bid farewell to departing state president (Reuven) Rivlin and to meet with his elected successor in office, Isaac Herzog”.

Steinmeier, who served two terms as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign minister, aims to “honour and strengthen the friendship and special partnership between Germany and Israel”.

The trip will also “offer the opportunity to intensify the political exchange of views on the current situation in the region with the new Israeli government”.

Steinmeier, whose office is largely ceremonial, will discuss “the future of Israeli society” and “shared challenges” on a visit that was postponed last year due to the pandemic.

His last trip to Israel was on January 23, 2020 for commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Rivlin last visited Berlin in March.

Merkel late Sunday congratulated incoming Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett after an alliance of parties ousted Netanyahu and formed a new government.

“Germany and Israel are connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen further,” Merkel said.

“With this in mind, I look forward to working closely with you,” she said in a message addressed to Bennett and shared by her spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer on Twitter.

Germany and Israel forged strong diplomatic ties in the decades after World War II, with Berlin committed to the preservation of the Jewish state in penance for the Holocaust.

AFP

German President Joins Armistice Ceremony In London

President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier stands at the Cenotaph during the Remembrance Sunday ceremony on Whitehall in central London, on November 11, 2018. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier became the first German leader to take part in Britain’s national service of remembrance on Sunday, 100 years since the end of World War I.

He laid a wreath at the Cenotaph war memorial in central London alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, who chose not to join other world leaders marking the centenary of the Armistice in Paris.

Across Britain, individuals and communities held two minutes silence at 11 am (1100 GMT) to remember the end of the four-year conflict which claimed 18 million lives.

In London, the moment was marked by the chiming of Big Ben, which has been largely silent since renovation work began in August 2017 but which still sounds for important national events.

Prince Charles laid the first wreath of red poppies, Britain’s emblem of remembrance, at the Cenotaph on behalf of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, who watched from a nearby balcony.

Steinmeier followed with his wreath, in a unique and highly symbolic act marking the reconciliation between the once warring nations.

Senior royals, diplomats, military leaders and politicians also paid their respects at the memorial to all British and Commonwealth service personnel who have died in combat since 1914.

They were followed by the traditional march past by military veterans, their medals glinting in the sunshine, as a crowd of thousands looked on.

AFP

Lavrov, Steinmeier To Meet On Ukraine, Syria Crisis

Sergei-Lavrov-Frank-Walter-Steinmeier-Germany-RussiaThe foreign ministers of Russia and Germany, Sergei Lavrov and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, are set to meet on Monday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the duo would discuss the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria in the course of their meeting expected to take place in Yekaterinburg.

President Vladimir Putin had accused Ukraine of sabotage plans in Crimea, the peninsula Russia captured from Ukraine in 2014.

Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, had also discussed the Syrian conflict with Mr Putin during his visit to Russia earlier this week.

EU Pledges To Support Nigeria’s 2015 General Elections

General ElectionsAs the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria prepares for the 2015 general elections, the foreign affairs minister of Germany, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has pledged the support of the European Union towards a free, fair and credible election. 

Speaking in Abuja the nation’s capital on Monday, Dr Steinmeier, stressed that the security situation in the north-east would constitute a strong challenge for the electoral body.

“In your elections next year, the challenge is tremendous and you have a great responsibility towards Nigeria and it also covers the whole of Africa. The image of Nigeria is at stake and the image of Africa as a whole.

“We have no doubt that this election will be free, fair and credible.

“The European Union will contribute to it financially and we will also dispatch and EU observation mission,” he said.

The Chairman of the INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, told the European union representatives that commission was aware of the enormous responsibility placed on the shoulders of the electoral body.

“We will contribute to deepening democracy in our country. We are taking this responsibility with the seriousness that it deserves and we feel confident, giving what we have been able to do since the 2011 general elections that we will deliver free, fair and credible election in 2015

Dr Steinmeier was accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister of France.