Tag Archives: Angela Merkel
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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. (*)
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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. (*)
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.” (*)