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Germany

Germany, Switzerland to resolve differences in spirit of good neighbors

German President Christian Wulff and his Swiss counterpart have pledged to resolve bilateral disputes in the spirit of good neighbors. He is set to wrap up his visit to Switzerland with stops in Lausanne and Zurich.

Christian Wulff and Doris Leuthard

Leuthard and Wulff stressed their countries' good relations

Germany and Switzerland have agreed to resolve differences over tax policy that has soured relations between the two countries over last year.

On the first day of his visit to Switzerland, German President Christian Wulff said it was not unusual for "even the best of neighbors to have differing interests and perceptions."

The two sides have been at odds over a decision by Germany to purchase data obtained illegally about German tax evaders in Switzerland. The stolen CDs contained the names of hundreds of Germans with secret bank accounts in Switzerland.

In August, tax investigators raided German branches of the Swiss bank Credit Suisse as part of an ongoing investigation into tax fraud.

Wulff's Swiss counterpart, Doris Leuthard, said the two countries were determined to resolve their differences in the spirit of good neighbors.

The fact that Wulff had chosen Switzerland for his first state visit since becoming president in July was a "significant signal," President Leuthard said.  The visit had been planned by former President Horst Koehler, who stepped down in May.  

This is the first visit to Switzerland by a German head of state in 10 years.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (dpa/AP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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