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Merkel's top foreign policy adviser to meet with team of US President-elect Trump

Merkel is sending her top security adviser to meet with Trump's team in New York, according to a media report. The German government is reportedly worried about unclear foreign policy stances.

Christoph Heusgen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign policy and security adviser, will travel to the United States to talk with members of President-elect Donald Trump's appointed Cabinet, according to a report in Saturday's "Spiegel" news magazine.

Heusgen, a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is to meet with US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, among others, "Spiegel" reported.

Deutschland Christoph Heusgen Sicherheitsberater der Kanzlerin (Reuters/A. Schmidt)

Heusgen will reportedly meet with Trump's team early next week in New York

A government official confirmed to German news agency DPA that Heusgen will travel to the US for talks at the beginning of the week but did not provide further details.

Numerous questions remain about what Trump and his foreign policy team will do once the president-elect assumes office on January 20. This uncertainty has the German government deeply concerned, "Spiegel" reported.

Trump and Russia

The chancellor's office in Berlin is reportedly worried that Trump will ignore sanctions imposed on Russia over its actions in eastern Ukraine - thereby tearing down a unified Western position against Russian aggression.

During Thursday's EU leaders summit in Brussels, Merkel said many leaders discussed possible repercussions if Trump pursued a more friendly policy towards Moscow. The EU heads of state and government agreed to extend sanctions against Russia until the end of July 2017.

Berlin is likewise concerned about statements Trump made during his campaign about the US possibly not defending NATO allies who do not pay more for their security.

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Additionally, there are fears that Trump could move from President Barack Obama's critical stance towards the Israeli government and could reject a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, "Spiegel" reported.

Controversy

Trump has sparked international controversy and concerns from Washington's closest allies over his comments praising Putin and his Moscow-friendly Cabinet appointments.

Flynn, a retired US general, and the pending Secretary of State Rex Tillerson both have close ties with Russia. Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship by Putin in 2013.

Following Trump's electoral win in November, Merkel said she would "do everything to work well with the new president," but urged that future cooperation would be based on "democracy, freedom and human rights worldwide."

Trump repeatedly criticized Merkel's welcoming refugee policy in 2015.

rs/jm (AP, AFP, dpa)

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