Photostream : German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets British Prime Minister David Cameron

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron chat during the 47th Conference on Security Policy in Munich February 5, 2011. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the 47th Munich Security Conference in the southern German city of Munich, February 5, 2011. Merkel called on Egyptians to show patience, saying regime change must be properly organised, citing her own experience in German reunification in 1990. (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a panel discussion during the Conference on Security Policy in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sits besides Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron during the 47th Conference on Security Policy in Munich February 5, 2011. REUTERS/Jens Meyer/Pool

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Shimon Peres on Egypt: Learn from Gaza

Israeli President Shimon Peres and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint press conference in his resdency on February 01, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. Merkel has travelled to Israel with members of her cabinet in order to conduct joint government cabinet meetings with their Israeli counterparts. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

President reminds German chancellor that Hamas rose to power following democratic elections in Gaza, says ‘we must ensure that human rights are guaranteed in a real democracy’

Feb 01 (KATAKAMI.COM / YNET) — President Shimon Peres met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at his official residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The main issue on the agenda was the situation in Egypt following theviolent uprising.

The president warned the chancellor that “the world must learn from what happened in Gaza. Democracy begins with elections – but does not end with elections. Democracy is a civilization, and if you choose the wrong side you bring about the end of democracy. We must ensure that human rights are guaranteed in a real democracy.”

Peres reminded Merkel that Hamastook over Gaza following democratic elections. “The world saw what happened in Gaza when they pushed for democratic elections and a radical and dangerous movement, which won’t give the Gazans one day of democracy, rose to power.

Addressing the Iranian nuclear program, he said that “all options are on the table.”

The president thanked the German chancellor for “your clear stand on Iran and for trying to prevent any danger which is unnecessary to peace and the free world. Your voice is loud and clear and all options are open.”

He explained in the closed meeting that “Iran is trying to force an extreme religious hegemony on the Middle East and Islamic countries.”

Merkel said she agreed with Peres’ remarks on the Iranian threat, saying that this was a problem which threatened the entire world and not just Israel.

“Israel’s security is a global matter, not a bilateral matter,” she said, adding that “in light of the recent events, it’s time to speed up the peace process.”

She clarified that the Palestinian Authority’s leadership was strong. “I believe I have arrived in Israel at a very important time. Time is essential to guarantee that Israel remains an independent state within its borders. The concept of two states for two people cannot remain a statement – it must be seen on the ground.”

(*)

Shimon Peres: 'Democracy is not only about elections'

Israeli President Shimon Peres shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a joint press conference in his resdency on February 01, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. Merkel has travelled to Israel with members of her cabinet in order to conduct joint government cabinet meetings with their Israeli counterparts. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Feb 01 (KATAKAMI.COM / JPOST) — President Shimon Peres met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Beit Hanassi on Tuesday, where they discussed Egypt, peace talks, and the Iranian nuclear program.

During the meeting, Peres said that the world saw the results of democratic elections in Gaza, where Hamas was elected.

“Democracy can not start and end in elections only,” Peres said. “True democracy begins on the day after the elections, in granting human rights and concern for citizens’ welfare.

“If a religious extremist dictatorship rises the day after democratic elections, what are democratic elections worth?” Peres asked.

He added that Iran is working to “bring a religious extremist hegemony to the Middle East. The Iranian problem and international terror,” Peres explained, “is not an Israeli monopoly, but an international problem.”

Merkel told Peres that, now more than ever, it is important to accelerate negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Peace between Israel and the Palestinians need to ensure Israel’s security, define borders of a Palestinian state, and solve core problems,” Merkel said.

She also agreed with Peres’ statement that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the entire world, and noted that she had arrived in Israel at a “historic moment.” She stressed that Israel’s security is a global matter and not a bilateral one, and that Germany would do whatever it can to guard Israel’s security and stability.  (*)

Britain, France, Germany urge Mubarak to avoid violence

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk prior to participation in a NATO Russia Council meeting at a NATO summit in Lisbon on Saturday Nov. 20, 2010. NATO planned Saturday to deliver a historic invitation for Russia to join a missile shield protecting Europe against Iranian attack, a milestone for an alliance that was built to defend against Soviet forces.(AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Jan 30 (KATAKAMI.COM / EXPATICA.COM) — British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak to avoid violence “at all costs” in a joint statement Saturday.

The three leaders called on Egypt’s embattled president to commit to change in response to what they said were the “legitimate grievances” of his people.

“We are deeply concerned about the events that we are witnessing in Egypt,” said the statement.

“We recognise the moderating role President Mubarak has played over many years in the Middle East. We now urge him to show the same moderation in addressing the current situation in Egypt,” it continued.

“We call on President Mubarak to avoid at all costs the use of violence against unarmed civilians, and on the demonstrators to exercise their rights peacefully.”  (*)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel honored by US Jewish group

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

 

American Jewish Committee presents German chancellor with its Light unto the Nations Award for her outspoken support for Jews, Israel

Jan 22 (KATAKAMI / Ynet) — The American Jewish Committee has honored German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her outspoken support for Israel and the Jewish people as a whole.

The group’s executive director David Harris on Thursday presented Merkel with its Light unto the Nations Award at the chancellery in Berlin.

Harris says in a statement that “outspoken support for the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the values of human freedom and human dignity are hallmarks of Chancellor Merkel’s visionary political leadership.”

Previous recipients include former US President Bill Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1965, Germany has become one of Israel’s strongest allies in Europe. (*)

 

Merkel says Germany will do what's needed for euro

German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses moments after delivering her New Year's television address to the nation at the Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt) on December 30, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Henning Schacht-Pool/Getty Images)

BERLIN, Jan 19 ( KATAKAMI.COM / THE ECONOMIC TIMES) —Germany will continue to do what is necessary to guarantee the stability of the euro, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with Stern magazine released on Wednesday ahead of publication on Thursday.

Merkel told the weekly magazine there would be “no return to the deutsche mark” and said Germany is commited to the euro “and will continue to do what is necessary to guarantee a stable euro.”

Merkel said she was in favour of improving coordination of euro zone nations. “What’s at stake is more common policies on taxes and social issues, on labour laws and wage developements in the public sector. We’ve got to coordinate…to dismantle the at times considerable discrepancies.”  (*)

Photostream : German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) listens to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi upon his arrival at the Chancellery in Berlin January 12, 2011. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at the Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt) on January 12, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. Berlusconi is in Berlin to participate in German-Italian governmental consultations, and a major topic of discussion will be measures for stabilizing the Euro. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi shake hands as they pose for the media after they address a news conference following their bilateral talks at the Chancellery in Berlin January 12, 2011. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi address a news conference following their bilateral talks at the Chancellery in Berlin January 12, 2011. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle arrive for a group photo of the Italian and German government delegations at the Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt) on January 12, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. Berlusconi is in Berlin to participate in German-Italian governmental consultations, and a major topic of discussion will be measures for stabilizing the Euro. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi by the arm in order to allow space for wheelchair-bound German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble prior to a group photo of the two countries' delegations at the Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt) on January 12, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. Berlusconi is in Berlin to participate in German-Italian governmental consultations, and a major topic of discussion will be measures for stabilizing the Euro. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Cyprus on 'historic' visit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks back at Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi (not pictured) during a welcome ceremony outside the Auberge de Castille, the Office of the Prime Minister, in Valletta January 10, 2011. Chancellor Merkel is in Malta on a two-day official visit. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

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Jan 11 (KATAKAMI / EXPATICA.COM) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Cyprus on Tuesday for a landmark visit to help boost faltering UN-backed efforts to reunify the Mediterranean island after decades of division.

Both the Cypriot government and media have described the visit as “historically important” and “politically significant”.

Pro-government communist daily Haravghi splashed “Willkommen” (welcome in German) across its front page, while the right-wing Simerini called it a short but important visit.

Apart from the Cyprus problem, the German chancellor would be keen to talk about closer NATO-EU cooperation which the island’s division has hampered, according to the reports.

Merkel is on a five-hour “working visit” to Nicosia, the world’s last divided capital following the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, in the first ever by a German head of government.

She will hold talks with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias before they have lunch together, and then Merkel will come face-to-face with the island’s division when travels to the green line.

Once in the UN-patrolled buffer zone she will spend some time at the Goethe Institute, hold a meeting with UN chief of mission Lisa Buttenheim before seeing main right-wing Disy opposition leader Nicos Anastasiades.

Her trip comes a day before Christofias, the Greek Cypriot leader, and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Dervis Eroglu are to resume peace talks on Wednesday after a long break.

“Naturally, Germany is in favour of the reunification of Cyprus. It is the first visit of a German chancellor, which carries great weight and is of huge importance,” Christofias told reporters last week.

He said Merkel’s visit was on a par with the historic visits of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Pope Benedict XVI who arrived in Cyprus to much fanfare last year.

“Such visits are of great significance as they give important support in efforts to reach a settlement based on a bizonal, bicommunal, federal solution.”

Christofias said Merkel would be warmly welcomed with “feelings of gratitude” towards a “major player in world affairs.”

The latest peace process was launched amid renewed international optimism in September 2008. But with no signs of tangible progress, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has stepped in to try to add impetus.

The trio are expected to meet again in Geneva, Switzerland on January 26 after a review last November in New York of the sluggish peace process.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and seized its northern third in response to an Athens-engineered coup in Nicosia to unite the island with Greece.  (*)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemns 'barbaric' Egypt church attack


 

 

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January 03, 2011 (KATAKAMI / EXPATICA) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday condemned as “barbaric” the bombing of a church in Egypt that killed 21 people on New Year’s Day.

“I received the news of the awful attack on a church in Alexandria with disgust and anger,” Merkel said in a letter of condolence to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, according to a government statement.

“The (German) government deplores in the strongest terms this barbaric act of terror in which Christians, but also Muslims, lost their lives.”

She added: “I thank you for the measures already introduced to protect Coptic Christians in Egypt and am convinced that you will do everything in your power to prevent further incidents like this in the future.”

Twenty-one people were killed early on Saturday and 79 wounded when an apparent suicide bomber blew himself up as hundreds of worshippers were leaving the Al-Qiddissin (The Saints) church in Alexandria.

The bombing has further underscored the vulnerability of the Copts, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s 80-million population and complain of discrimination.  (*)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses New Year's speech to stress importance of euro

German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses moments after delivering her New Year's television address to the nation at the Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt) on December 30, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Henning Schacht-Pool/Getty Images)

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December 31, 2010 (KATAKAMI / DEUTSCHE WELLE) — The chancellor highlighted the importance of the euro in her New Year’s speech, saying the single currency was at the center of Germany’s prosperity. She also said Germany had emerged stronger from the economic crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened her annual New Year’s Eve address to the nation by looking back to her speech from one year ago, when Germany faced an uncertain year ahead.

“Let me be completely open,” she said as she started her address. “A year ago, when I sat before you and delivered this speech, I looked to the future confidently but with mixed feelings, because our country was in the middle of a financial and economic crisis.”

As 2010 comes to a close, however, Merkel struck a much more confident tone, patting Germans on the back for helping pull the country out of the economic doldrums.

“Germany mastered the crisis like almost no other country,” she said. “We even emerged from the crisis strengthened.”

“Never have more people had work in reunified Germany than today. The number of unemployed is the lowest in almost 20 years,” the chancellor said.

“We have come out of the crisis stronger. And that is, above all, thanks to you, my fellow citizens.”

Euro ‘intertwined’ with Germany

While Germany leads the way economically among European nations, other countries are still struggling, which has led to widespread unemployment and fears about the eurozone’s shared currency.

The euro is important for Germany and Europe, Merkel said
However, Merkel defended the euro in her speech, saying it was intertwined with Germany’s “well-being.”

“Europe is currently facing a big test. We have to strengthen the euro. It is not just about our money. The euro is much more than a currency,” Merkel said.

“Fortunately, we Europeans are unified. A united Europe is the guarantor for our peace and freedom. The euro forms the foundation of our prosperity,” she said.

“Germany needs Europe and our common currency, for our own well-being and also in order to overcome big challenges worldwide.”

Job well done

Merkel drew a comparison between the hard work displayed by Germans to pull themselves out of the economic crisis to the country’s national soccer team, which took third place at the World Cup in South Africa.

Germans rallied around the national team during the World Cup
“Our national soccer team wonderfully demonstrated precisely those virtues that make us strong: diligence and discipline, imagination and technical quality of the highest standard.”

The chancellor looked ahead to the summer of 2011, when Germany is to play host to the 2011 women’s World Cup. The host nation is seen as a strong title contender, which Merkel referenced in her speech.

“When the women’s World Cup takes place in Germany next year, our team will be hoping to win its third title,” she said. “With our support, they can certainly do it, and I’m looking forward to the opening game in Berlin.”

Soldiers not forgotten

Germany’s armed forces received a lot of attention in 2010, both for the debate about ending Germany’s long-standing policy of conscription and the Bundeswehr’s role as part of NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan.

The chancellor paid her respects to the nine German soldiers who died this year in Afghanistan.

“Even though no words from me can ease the pain felt by the families and friends of those who have fallen, I want to say from the bottom of my heart: that they will not be forgotten,” Merkel said.

Merkel wrapped up her speech by looking forward to the year ahead, calling on Germans to live in solidarity – “from person to person.” Germany should not strive to “have more” but to “live better,” Merkel said, which serves to foster togetherness and well-being in the country.

Quoting philosopher Karl Popper, Merkel said: “The future is wide open. It is dependent on us – all of us.” To that Merkel added, “In this sense, let us look ahead to the next year with ideas, curiosity, and passion for the solutions to new challenges.” (*)

Photostream : German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg visits Afghanistan

In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office, German Chancellor Angela Merkel checks her mobile phone at the Transall prior she leaves after her visit on December 18, 2010 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Merkel, who is on her third trip to Afghanistan, paid her respects to German soldiers currently deployed and the 45 troops who have lost their lives during the conflict. She is being accompanied by Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Bundeswehr chief of staff Volker Wieker. (Photo by Steffen Kugler/Bundesregierung-Pool via Getty Images)

Picture provided by the press department of German Government shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right as she talks to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, as German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, second right, and US general David Petraeus, second left, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, look on during their meeting in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan Satuday Dec. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Steffen Kugler,German Government)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) talks to German Bundeswehr soldiers during a visit to a camp in Kunduz province December 18, 2010. Merkel is visiting the German Bundeswehr armed forces troops with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. A lens flare causes the effect seen in the lower right corner of the photo. REUTERS/Bundesregierung/Steffen Kugler/Handout

In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg attend a memorial service for a German soldier, who died yesterday, at Camp Marmal in Basar-e-Sharif during her visit of an ISAF soldier camp on December 18, 2010 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Merkel, who is on her third trip to Afghanistan, paid her respects to German soldiers currently deployed and the 45 troops who have lost their lives during the conflict. She is being accompanied by Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Bundeswehr chief of staff Volker Wieker. (Photo by Steffen Kugler/Bundesregierung-Pool via Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L), Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and German Bundeswehr armed forces soldiers observe a moment of silence for fallen comrades during Merkel's visit in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, December 18, 2010. Merkel is visiting the German Bundeswehr armed forces troops with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

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