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

EU Pledges $50 Million To Fight Boko Haram

Boko HaramPresident Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to redouble efforts and ensure that Boko Haram is completely defeated, and rendered incapable of targeting even soft targets.

This pledge by the Nigerian President comes as the European Union has promised the sum of 50 million dollars to assist Nigeria in the fight against the terror group.

German President, Mr Joachim Gauck, made the pledge on behalf of the EU after holding bilateral talks with President Buhari in the Presidential Villa.

The German President commiserated with Nigerians on the recent attacks and called for good government and development if Nigeria must conquer terrorism in the long term.

During a visit to Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Mr Gauck had also pledged that Germany would assist Nigeria with the technical know-how to successfully fight terrorism.

President Buhari met with President Gauck a day after he returned from his 6-day vacation in London.

The Nigerian President returned to the country on Wednesday night and was received at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja by top government officials.

 

German President resigns

German President, Christian Wulff resigned on Friday after state prosecutors asked parliament on Thursday to remove his legal immunity over accusations that he accepted favors.

German President

“The developments of the past few days and weeks have shown that (the German people’s) trust and thus my effectiveness have been seriously damaged,” Wulff said in a brief statement.

“For this reason it is no longer possible for me to exercise the office of president at home and abroad as required.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who selected him for the largely ceremonial post of head of state, was scheduled to speak at 1030 GMT. The resignation deals a blow to the conservative chancellor in the midst of the euro zone crisis.