French premier Dominique de Villepin visited Berlin on Wednesday, January 18, 2006. He gave a lecture on European policy at the Humboldt university before meeting the German chancellor Angela Merkel. They talked, among other things, on the Iran issue. Deutsche Welle editor Nina Werhäuser sums up from Berlin.
French premier Dominique de Villepin and German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin
Irrespective of the government in power or the incumbent in the chancellor’s office, the relationship with France has always been one of the cornerstones of German foreign policy. Angela Merkel was receiving the French premier for the first time in the chancellor’s office, in her capacity as the chancellor of Germany, but her statement was very much in the tradition of German-French relations:
“It shows that our cooperation on all levels is one of extraordinary closeness and importance.”
Dominique de Villepin, in his turn, did not fail to praise the longstanding relationship of the two countries since the days of Adenauer and de Gaulle:
“Germany and France are the foundation of the European Union.”
Going beyond these standard utterances of mutual respect and appreciation, de Villepin suggested closer cooperation in certain areas such as the creation of a joint border security force, or jointly battling the bird flu in Europe. Both governments want to remain in close consultation on Iran. With an eye to the emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency on February 2, de Villepin said in Berlin:
“We want the greatest possible consensus. As the Chancellor has already said, we can’t rule out the possibility that the matter will be referred to the UN security council. We’ve made quite a few offers to Iran up till now, but without any success.The Teheran government must obey the rules of the community of nations and not flounce international law.”
Angela Merkel shared de Villepin’s evaluation, without commenting in detail on possible sanctions:
“I think we must go step by step and above all, give a clear signal to Iran that the international community is not ready to accept a situation in which Iran does not fulfil its obligations, nor its promises, but keeps trying to bypass agreements.”
Angela Merkel will be visiting France on coming Monday, January 23, 2006. It’s part of the permanent consultative mechanism between the two countries, which the new chancellor obviously intends to set forth.