Posts Tagged ‘Merkel’

As U.S., North Korea plan to meet, Iran warns against Trump deals — “Speaking to President Donald Trump would be an exercise in futility.”

April 22, 2018

Jerusalem Post and Reuters

NEW YORK – A US push to change the Iran nuclear deal was sending a “very dangerous message” that countries should never negotiate with Washington, Iran’s foreign minister warned as US and North Korean leaders prepare to meet for denuclearization talks.

Speaking to reporters in New York on Saturday, Mohammad Javad Zarif also said that for French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “to try to appease the president (Donald Trump) would be an exercise in futility.”

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Mohammad Javad Zarif
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Trump will decide by May 12 whether to restore US economic sanctions on Tehran, which would be a severe blow to the 2015 pact between Iran and six major powers. He has pressured European allies to work with Washington to fix the deal.

Macron and Merkel are both due to meet with Trump in Washington this week.

“The United States has not only failed to implement its side (of the deal), but is even asking for more,” said Zarif, who is in New York to attend a UN General Assembly meeting.

“That’s a very dangerous message to send to people of Iran but also to the people of the world – that you should never come to an agreement with the United States because at the end of the day the operating principle of the United States is ‘what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable,'” he said.

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European MPs warn US over scrapping Iran nuclear deal — “Iran living up to its obligations.” — European Companies want the business — Turning a blind eye to Iranian missiles fired at Saudi Arabia

April 20, 2018

MPs from Britain, France and Germany have warned the US Congress of damage to transatlantic credibility and conflict in the Middle East if Washington pulls out of the Iran nuclear deal. The US may withdraw next month.

Iran nuclear deal (Getty Images/AFP/J. Klamar)

Around 500 lawmakers from Britain, France and Germany on Thursday urged the US Congress to save the Iran nuclear deal ahead of a possible US withdrawal next month.

“It is the US’s and Europe’s interest to prevent nuclear proliferation in a volatile region and to maintain the transatlantic partnership as a reliable and credible driving force of world politics,” European lawmakers from across the political spectrum wrote in a letter to their US counterparts.

The Trump administration has demanded that the 2015 nuclear accord be fixed by May 12, otherwise, the United States may reinstate sanctions on Tehran and effectively kill the accord despite Iran’s compliance.

Read moreWhat are Donald Trump’s objections to the Iran nuclear deal?

Iran nuclear deal (picture-alliance/epa/D. Calma)The letter said the US is moving towards abandoning the nuclear deal despite Iran living up to its obligations.

The lawmakers from the three European countries that were signatories to the deal warned that abandonment of the nuclear accord would end controls on Iran’s nuclear program and create a source of conflict in the Middle East.

Thirteen years of negotiations with Iran allowed the international community “to impose unprecedented scrutiny on the Iranian nuclear program, dismantle most of their nuclear enrichment facilities, and drastically diminish the danger of a nuclear arms race,” they said in the letter published in major newspapers on Thursday and Friday.

“Not a drop of blood was spilt,” they wrote.

A US withdrawal would create “lasting damage to our credibility as international partners in negotiation, and more generally, to diplomacy as a tool to achieve peace and ensure security.”

Read more:What is the Iran nuclear deal?

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Merkel, Macron to lobby Trump

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will head to Washington next week to press the Trump administration to stay in the accord signed by the three European powers, Russia, China and the United States.

A US withdrawal would open a deep divided between the United States and Europe, despite common concern over Iran’s ballistic missile program and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Read moreEU extends Iran human rights sanctions by a year 

The European MPs said that although they “share the concerns expressed by many vis-à-vis this Iranian behavior, we are deeply convinced that these issues must be treated separately” outside of the nuclear accord.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday warned that Tehran had several options if the United States leaves the nuclear deal.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

“Tehran’s reaction to America’s withdrawal of the deal will be unpleasant,” he said in New York.

Read more: Iran nuclear deal under pressure as Pompeo heads to State Department

Iranian leaders have signaled that Tehran’s response to a US withdrawal would be dictated by the stance of European powers, especially ensuring that Iran benefits sanctions lifted under the nuclear accord.

European governments led by Britain, France and Germany are considering taking non-nuclear related sanction action against Iran over its ballistic missile program and support for the Syrian regime in order to appease the Trump administration in a bid to save the nuclear accord.

http://www.dw.com/en/european-mps-warn-us-over-scrapping-iran-nuclear-deal/a-43463669

Macron seeks to win over Angela Merkel on EU reforms

April 19, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron is headed to Berlin on a trip aimed at bringing Chancellor Angela Merkel into his corner on EU reforms. But when it comes to European policy, the two leaders remain far apart.

Angela Merkel & Emmanuel Macron in Paris (Reuters/L. Marin)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron address one another as “lieber Emmanuel” and “chere Angela.” They appear friendly — two leaders who trust one another. But they also don’t mince words on issues they don’t agree on. Both know that Europe won’t move forward without close Franco-German coordination. And that’s why Merkel and Macron are still seeking compromise when it comes to European Union economic and finance policy.

Eurozone reform

Macron wants to fortify the eurozone against unexpected financial crises, and is demanding a roadmap for step-by-step progress. Germany’s new government, meanwhile, is pushing for a “new era for Europe” and has even declared a readiness to contribute more to the EU budget.

Read moreGermany’s Angela Merkel faces EU reform pressure ahead of Emmanuel Macron visit

Nevertheless, Berlin is largely skeptical of what Macron is selling. Opponents argue the French president’s plans are not in Germany’s interest as they force the German taxpayer to foot the bill for other countries. A “transfer union” is not compatible with Germany’s constitution, they say, adding that it contradicts the voters’ will as well as that of many northern states in the eurozone.

Alexander Dobrindt (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Geber)Dobrdint says the CSU is opposed to the idea of a European finance minister

If they shared a budget, the eurozone states could counter economic crises and plan future investments, Macron says. It is still unclear who would fill the coffers.

Macron has also repeatedly mentioned creating the post of eurozone finance minister. “We are opposed to an EU finance minister,” said Alexander Dobrindt, a senior politician of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), following Macron’s speech in Strasbourg earlier this week. Before you can even start discussing a budget for the eurozone, he added, the EU summit in June must agree on a budget for the entire bloc — members will be paying more once the UK leaves.

Read moreEmmanuel Macron and his European woes

Macron is pushing for an expanded European banking union that includes a deposit insurance scheme to protect European small savers. Here, too, Germany is hesitant. Just last month, the country’s new finance minister, center-left Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, praised Macron’s plans. This month, he hinted that the insurance scheme isn’t about to be realized in the near future. First, he said, European banks must reduce their risks and get rid of their bad loans — a position held previously by his conservative predecessor, Wolfgang Schäuble.

Is compromise possible?

While Macron can present a relatively unified front in France with regard to his EU proposals, Merkel must always bear in mind her government coalition partners and their positions — her own CDU and the generally more conservative CSU are the main critics in this case, arguing the reforms are not in “Germany’s interest.” They also fear strengthening the opposition — the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) are even more strongly opposed to a transfer union.

AfD campaign van in Münster (picture-alliance/dpa/R. Haid)The far-right AfD, initially known for its euroskepticism, is now the largest opposition party in the Bundestag

Germany can also point a finger at other northern European countries less than enthused about Macron’s plans. The Netherlands and Finland, for example, refuse to take on more financial responsibility for southern EU nations, a region for which France is widely regarded as the advocate.

Merkel has stated an EU reform encompasses much more than reforming the eurozone. “By June, we will have found joint solutions with France,” she said, adding the two countries will come up with a “strong package.”

A closer relationship

Franco-German ties are close, but plans are to deepen them even further. The Elysee Treaty signed in 1963 by then-French President Charles de Gaulle and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was a milestone in relations between the two countries — a sign of friendship between former arch enemies. The treaty called for regular consultations between France and West Germany as well as a youth exchange program that more than 8 million young people have enjoyed so far.

Read more: Is Emmanuel Macron Europe’s new Angela Merkel?

A renewed Elysee Treaty 55 years later is currently being drawn up and could be ready for signing later this year. It foresees closer cooperation on border areas and in education. Put another way, a return to the interrelations between French and German citizens that de Gaulle and Adenauer helped to foster all those decades ago.

http://www.dw.com/en/emmanuel-macron-seeks-to-win-over-angela-merkel-on-eu-reforms/a-43444229

France’s Macron to push EU lawmakers on reforms

April 17, 2018

AFP

© AFP / by Jérôme RIVET, Cédric SIMON | French President Emmanuel Macron will travel this week for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to win backing for his ambitious European reform plan
STRASBOURG (FRANCE) (AFP) – French President Emmanuel Macron will on Tuesday address the European Parliament for the first time in a bid to shore up support for his ambitious plans for post-Brexit reforms of the EU.The energetic young French leader wants big changes in the face of growing scepticism about the European project, but there has been a marked lack of enthusiasm from Berlin to Budapest.

Macron’s speech to MEPs in the eastern French city of Strasbourg is part of a charm offensive ahead of European Parliament elections in May 2019, the first after Britain’s departure.

“He will say that it is urgent to take action at a difficult time both inside the European Union, and outside,” said the Elysee, the French presidency, ahead of Macron’s address.

Internal problems include election results in Italy and Hungary which both saw eurosceptics surge in popularity, compounding fears that the 2016 Brexit vote was part of a pattern.

Externally the EU is dealing with the war in Syria — France and Britain joined the US in air strikes targeting the regime’s alleged chemical weapons at the weekend — a hostile Russia, and the unpredictable figure of Donald Trump in the United States.

Macron said in a television interview on Sunday that Europe was experiencing a “rise in illiberalism… the populism of people who call the rule of law into question.”

Later this week Macron will travel to Berlin for crucial talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to try to win her support for his plans for the future of the eurozone.

– Merkel party cools –

Merkel’s conservative CDU party pushed back on Monday against plans for deeper eurozone integration, including a separate eurozone budget and the expansion of the EU’s bailout fund.

Any reforms have to be “in the European and in the German interest,” CDU secretary-general Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told reporters.

EU leaders are set to adopt preliminary Macron-backed plans for eurozone reforms and for an overhaul of its troubled asylum system in June, but there is still a large amount of work to do.

Merkel is due to address the European Parliament in November, officials said on Monday.

In contrast, Merkel made a joint speech with then-French president Francois Hollande in Strasbourg in 2015 in which they urged unity in the face of the migrant crisis.

European lawmakers welcomed Macron’s decision to address the parliament but urged him to turn words into action as soon as possible.

Macron had “lots of projects for Europe” but “not everything he has proposed has been well received”, said Manfred Weber, a Merkel ally who heads the centre-right European People’s Party, the biggest group in the European Parliament.

He added that it was a “handicap” that Macron — who rose to power on the back of his new En Marche party — did not belong to any of the main political groups in the European Parliament.

by Jérôme RIVET, Cédric SIMON

Merkel’s tougher Russia stance meets resistance in Germany

April 16, 2018

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FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin prepare to attend a working session at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kai PfaffenbachREUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) – Germany’s Europe minister called on Monday for a new policy of easing tensions with Russia, adding to a chorus of voices pressing Chancellor Angela Merkel to moderate her hardened stance towards the Kremlin.

The conservative chancellor swung behind Britain after the poison attack on a former Russian double agent in England last month, expelling four diplomats despite uneasiness among a political class that is wary of confrontation with Germany’s giant eastern neighbor.

Europe Minister Michael Roth, a member of the Social Democrat party (SPD), said that while the European Union needed a united front on Russia, sanctions should aim to bring Moscow to the negotiating table.

“Anti-Russian reflexes are just as dangerous as naively… remaining silent over the nationalist-tinged policies of the current Russian leadership,” he wrote in Die Welt newspaper.

Many Western countries are pushing for a more assertive stance against Moscow over President Vladimir Putin’s backing for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, accused of using chemical weapons in the country’s civil war.

With extensive business and energy links to Russia, Germany has been cautious in its relations with Moscow, though Merkel’s tone has hardened over the four years since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Roth, whose party is junior partner in Merkel’s coalition, echoed comments from President Frank-Walter Steinmeier – a fellow Social Democrat – that “too much is at stake” for Germany to cast Russia as an enemy.

Opinion in the coalition is not necessarily divided along party lines. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, also a Social Democrat, has appeared to shift away from a conciliatory approach to Moscow while Alexander Dobrindt, a lawmaker for Merkel’s Bavarian sister party, has questioned the effectiveness of the sanctions against Russia.

The sequence of interventions, by Roth and Steinmeier from the SPD, and Dobrindt and former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg on the right, highlight how Merkel’s diminished authority in her fourth and likely final term in office is limiting her room for maneuver.

Guttenberg, once tipped as a potential Merkel successor before his fall from grace in an academic plagiarism scandal, criticized the government for its policy towards intervention in Syria in the face of a cynical Russia.

“We make it easy for ourselves, letting the others do the dirty work,” he said of Merkel’s decision not to participate in missile strikes launched by the United States, Britain and France on Syria last week after its suspected use of chemical weapons.

“It is good that somebody still acts when someone kills children, innocent people,” he told mass-selling Bild newspaper.

Earlier, conservative Economy Minister Peter Altmaier echoed Merkel’s scepticism about the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project which will bring Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine with which Moscow is at odds.

(Reporting by Markus Wacket, writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Paul Carrel and David Stamp)

EU foreign ministers seek to paper over divisions on Syria strikes — those responsible “will be held accountable for this violation of international law”

April 16, 2018

EU foreign ministers will try to put on a united front at talks in Luxembourg on Monday despite divisions over the strikes on Syria and how to handle the growing diplomatic crisis with Moscow.

Germany’s powerful Chancellor Angela Merkel may have declared the strikes by the US, Britain and France “necessary and appropriate”, but other EU members are resisting any step that could lead to further escalation.

Image result for Federica Mogherini, photos, april 2018

Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for foreign and security policy,

US, French and British missiles destroyed suspected chemical weapons development and storage sites in Syria on Saturday in response to the alleged chemical attack in Douma, blamed on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

While the EU’s 28 members agree the incident was unacceptable and cannot go unpunished, a statement issued by EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini on Saturday stopped short of endorsing the strikes, saying only that those responsible “will be held accountable for this violation of international law”.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg unequivocally backed the strikes, saying they would reduce Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons.

But EU states are divided — at one end of the scale are France and Britain, at the other are neutral countries and in between various NATO members with differing views on strikes.

“The statement of the 28 is the maximum that could be said,” a European source said.

Some European governments are holding back because they are concerned about the reaction from Russia, which among other things remains a key supplier of gas to the EU.

The day before the strikes Russian President Vladimir Putin warned during phone talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron against “ill-considered and dangerous actions” in Syria which could lead to “unpredictable consequences”.

– Stick together –

“The EU has to stick together, we have to avoid each country pursuing its own individual policy with Moscow,” a European official said on condition of anonymity.

Moscow has been keen to exploit fissures within the EU that were laid bare by the response to the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

After intense lobbying by Britain, France and Germany, all 28 EU leaders signed up to a statement blaming Russia for the poisoning at a summit in Brussels last week, but it took a lot of persuading.

Afterwards, 19 EU countries followed Britain’s lead and expelled Russian diplomats from their territory, five took the more limited step of recalling their own ambassadors, and three did nothing.

“Everyone saw the same thing. Everyone had the same reading of the facts, but not everyone responded in the same way,” an EU diplomat said.

At Monday’s meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers will discuss how to put pressure on Moscow to try to end the seven-year conflict in Syria.

“We must increase pressure on Russia to force it to change attitude. Everyone knows there is only a solution to the conflict in Syria with Russia,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Paris was ready to work to “combine our efforts to promote a political process in Syria that favours an end to the crisis”, while his boss Macron said on Sunday he wanted to “convince” the Russians to come to the negotiating table.

The EU insists “there can be no military solution” to the war in Syria, which has killed over 350,000 people, and has pushed for UN-led peace talks in Geneva to be given fresh impetus.

But privately some European diplomats already acknowledge that the Assad regime’s military campaign is likely to succeed and they should begin planning for the next stage.

AFP

Ukraine urges cancellation of Russia-Germany gas pipeline — Russia must “not be allowed to have a monopoly and force its prices on the European Union”

April 9, 2018

AFP

© AFP/File | Poroshenko says the Nord Stream 2 project is “political bribe money for loyalty to Russia”
FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday urged Germany to abandon plans to build a controversial second pipeline to bring gas from Russia, saying it would enable a “blockade” against his country.The Nord Stream 2 project is “political bribe money for loyalty to Russia,” Poroshenko told German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

Building it would mean “imposing an economic and energy blockade on Ukraine” he added, charging that the pipeline has “no economic justification”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Nord Stream 2 a purely “economic project” with no need for political intervention, but it has become an open wound in relations with eastern neighbours and the European Commission.

The pipeline would double the amount of Russian gas arriving in the European Union’s most powerful economy via the Baltic Sea — without transiting Ukraine — by late 2019.

Authorities in Germany issued the final permits needed for construction of Nord Stream 2 on its territory and in its waters to begin last month, although other nations’ green lights are still needed.

But “the Ukrainian transit pipeline is much cheaper and can be modernised cheaply and easily,” Poroshenko told Handelsblatt.

He accused Russia of being an “extremely unreliable partner” in energy provision, pointing to state-owned energy firm Gazprom’s refusal to pay Ukraine billions of euros after shutting off gas supplies in the middle of winter.

– Germany split –

Gazprom accounts for around one third of Europe’s gas supply.

Less and less has arrived via Ukraine in recent years, part of Moscow’s conflict with its former satellite which saw Russia annex the Crimean peninsula in 2014 — prompting EU sanctions in response.

A rare cross-party alliance of high-ranking German politicians from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats warned in February against allowing Nord Stream 2 to go ahead.

It would “split the EU politically and call into question our solidarity with Poland, our Baltic neighbours, Slovakia and Ukraine, but also Sweden and Denmark,” they wrote.

Also in February, Merkel clashed with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at a Berlin press conference over the pipeline.

He warned that a single gas producer — Russia — must “not be allowed to have a monopoly and force its prices on the European Union”.

Ukraine has also urged sanctions against former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder over his vocal support of the Russian government and $500,000-a-year job on the board of Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft, calling him “(Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s most important lobbyist”.

Immigration row overshadows start of Merkel’s fourth term — Draft law would prevent people dependent on social benefits from bringing in family members — Reversal of earlier German policy

April 6, 2018

AFP

© AFP / by Yannick PASQUET with Tom BARFIELD in Frankfurt | Conservatives among Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are keen to restrict as heavily as possible so-called “family reunifications”

BERLIN (AFP) – A scuffle over immigration has marred the first weeks in office of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fourth coalition, promising anything but smooth sailing in the years ahead for the loveless left-right alliance.Conservatives among Merkel’s Christian Democrats are keen to restrict as heavily as possible so-called “family reunifications” that would allow some of the million-plus migrants and refugees who have arrived since 2015 to bring in relatives.

That has stirred the ire of Social Democrats (SPD), the reluctant junior partners who helped Merkel into office to end the longest period of post-election limbo in post-World War II German history.

In their painstakingly-negotiated coalition deal, the parties agreed that up to 1,000 people per month could enter Germany under family reunification, with only immediate relatives eligible.

New Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is eager to tighten the screws further, with a draft law that would prevent people dependent on social benefits from bringing in family members and further restrict which relations are eligible, including ruling out siblings.

Many people who arrived in Germany as refugees are yet to join the labour market, undergoing job training or language classes, and would therefore not qualify.

Seehofer is a former leader of the ultra-conservative CSU, the smaller Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s more centrist CDU.

He is keen to burnish his outfit’s anti-immigration credentials ahead of a state election later this year, when they will face a stiff challenge from anti-Islam, anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“We don’t want an influx into the social system. That’s also how we’ve discussed this within the coalition,” he told Der Spiegel magazine’s Saturday edition.

Two years ago, Seehofer blasted Merkel’s 2015 decision to open Germany’s borders to refugees arriving in Europe via the so-called “Balkan route” from the Middle East, saying it had produced a “rule of injustice” in Europe’s most populous nation.

Arriving in his Berlin ministry after being ejected from the state premiership in prosperous Bavaria, he lost no time before stirring up controversy with a declaration that “Islam does not belong to Germany”, which is home to around four million Muslims.

– ‘Coalition would be over’ –

Social democrats, already smarting from the concessions made on immigration in the coalition agreement, have bristled at Seehofer’s sallies in the media and at the draft law.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas declared that “we will not agree to any draft which we consider to be mainly aimed at reducing numbers” allowed to enter Germany.

For his part, Seehofer insisted Friday that he was “sticking very, very closely to the coalition agreement,” suggesting cabinet colleagues from the SPD should “relax” about his law.

Meanwhile, his CSU party colleagues have backed him to the hilt.

“If the Social Democrats don’t cooperate, the ‘grand coalition’ would be over” less than a month after Merkel was sworn in, deputy leader of the conservative parliamentary group Georg Nuesslein told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

The family reunification row is just one front in a broader battle over immigration, integration and Islam in German society that has pitted the SPD against the CDU/CSU.

Seehofer is also keen to speed up expulsions of people whose asylum applications are refused, many of whom spend months or years contesting the decisions in the courts or acquire a “tolerated” residence status.

After weeks of mud-slinging, some among the conservatives are uncomfortable with the relentless focus on such themes.

“The question is: do we really win elections by naming the topics that stir people up without changing anything?” asked Armin Laschet, CDU state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Merkel will be counting on the support of moderates like Laschet to contain bubbling discontent on the right of her party.

Health Minister Jens Spahn, a rising star of the CDU’s right wing seen as a potential future candidate for the chancellorship, has spent his first weeks in office giving interviews urging more “law and order” in troubled city districts.

He has also chided feminist pro-abortion campaigners, saying they cared more about animal rights than unborn children, and declared that long-term unemployed people were not poor.

A government spokesman said Spahn’s statements were his “personal” views, not government policy.

by Yannick PASQUET with Tom BARFIELD in Frankfurt

Germany’s Merkel to visit Trump, as trade, Iran deadlines loom

April 5, 2018

Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit U.S. President Donald Trump on April 27, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday, as differences over a nuclear deal with Iran and trade cast a shadow over the transatlantic relationship.

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Merkel’s trip, three days after French president Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the U.S. capital, will come just before the expiry of an exemption for the European Union from U.S. import duties on steel and aluminum.

The twin visits would give the European Union’s two leading national leaders the opportunity to lobby for the bloc to be exempted permanently from the steel and aluminum tariffs. The tariffs are suspended for the EU until May 1.

Merkel’s visit to the United States, first reported by mass-selling daily Bild, will also take place shortly before a May 12 deadline that Trump has set to improve an international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Her office had no immediate comment on the planned visit.

Merkel, in a telephone call with Trump last week, urged dialogue on trade policy between the EU and the United States, “taking into account the rules-based international trade system”.

Merkel’s relationship with Trump got off to a frosty start after his November 2016 election.

Before a phone conversation on March 1 to discuss the war in Syria and Russian nuclear arms, the two leaders had not spoken to each other for more than five months.

Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from an accord between Tehran and six world powers, signed in 2015 before he took office, unless France, Britain and Germany help to agree a follow-up pact by that date. Trump does not like the deal’s limited duration, among other things.

Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Rene Wagner and Andreas Rinke in Berlin; Writing by Thomsa Escritt and Paul Carrel; Editing by Andrew Bolton

Turkey seems to relish its role as “the antagonist” — Turkey daily portrays Merkel as Hitler

March 26, 2018

AFP

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© AFP | The Yeni Akit newspaper accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of having a “Nazi mentality”

ISTANBUL (AFP) – A Turkish daily strongly supportive of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday portrayed German Chancellor Angela Merkel on its front cover as Adolf Hitler, accusing her of having a “Nazi mentality”.The Yeni Akit daily, known for its hardline views on Turkish foreign policy, printed a photo-shopped picture of Merkel with a Hitler moustache, swastika arm band and belt diagonally across her chest in the style of Nazi militia.

“We are very worried by this mentality,” it said.

Its front page came as European Union President Donald Tusk and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker were to meet Erdogan at the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Varna in a bid to mend ties with Turkey and the EU.

Ankara has been infuriated by a statement from EU leaders condemning Turkey’s “illegal actions” towards Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea.

In particular, the EU lambasted Turkey over Ankara’s arrest of two Greek soldiers who strayed into Turkish territory.

Yeni Akit alleged that while Merkel had “protected” fugitives wanted by Turkey and remained silent on arson attacks against mosques in Germany, “she is worried on the issue of the Greek soldiers who were trying to spy on us.”

“It’s exasperating that Merkel, with her Nazi mentality, makes comments against Turkey at every moment,” it added.

This is not the first time that a Turkish newspaper has portrayed Merkel as the Nazi dictator who led the Third Reich, caused World War II and presided over the Holocaust.

Erdogan himself had accused Germany and other EU governments of showing the mentality of the Nazis for banning Turkish ministers from giving rallies in the run-up to an April referendum last year.

Then, the right-wing tabloid-style daily Gunes printed a picture of her in Nazi uniform along with the words in German: “#Frau Hitler” and called Merkel an “ugly aunt”.

***

NOTE: There is virtually no media left in Turkey that does not support Erdogan.

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