Russian, Egyptian Presidents Due in Berlin for Talks with Schroeder
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrive in Germany Tuesday for talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder about the US-led response to international terrorism.
Germany, which sees itself as the leader for the EU in relations with Russia, will seek Moscow's integration into the anti-terrorist fight as a way of getting it more involved in international diplomacy, officials said, cited by AFP.
Schroeder's job will have been made easier by pronouncements on Monday by Putin, who told his nation Monday that Russia may take part in "search and rescue missions" during a possible US attack on Afghanistan and further step up its military assistance to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.
In a speech that instantly shifted post-Cold War relations between Moscow and Washington, Putin also said Russia was willing to open its airspace -- along with those of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia that it protects -- for a "humanitarian" US-led mission in Afghanistan.
The Russian president, whose visit has long been planned, is to give what has been slated as an important European and foreign policy speech later in the day to the German lower house of parliament, the Bundestag.
Putin, who will be travelling with his wife and is the official guest of German President Johannes Rau, will meet Wednesday with German newspaper editors before giving another speech, in Essen in the Ruhr Valley, to foreign policy specialists and business leaders, said the agency.
On Thursday he returns to the city of Dresden, where he was once stationed as a secret police agent of the Soviet Union. There he will meet again with Schroeder, with whom he has built up a cordial personal relationship.
In parallel with the Putin visit, Schroeder will be hosting a working visit from the Egyptian president, who has been increasingly relying on Germany in recent months to get the European Union more involved in the search for peace in the Middle East.
On Wednesday, meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, whose country currently presides over the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, will be lunching with Schroeder.
In his separate meetings with the three leaders, the German chancellor will have the opportunity to further expose his vision of a comprehensive plan to stabilize the Middle East and Central Asia regions through political and economic means, and thereby tackle the root cause of terrorism.
Germany has been reluctant to become engaged in military operations outside its borders since the Second World War, but has recently become more active in this regard.
Germany will be Mubarak’s second leg of a tour.
He held talks Monday with French President Jacque Chirac on a number of issues, mainly the importance of holding a global conference on terrorism as well as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In another development, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher heads Tuesday for Washington for similar talks with the Bush administration – Albawaba.com
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