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Cabinet guidelines

February 8, 2012

The German government has adopted guidelines aimed at taking the country's relations with rapidly industrializing nations to a new level. Among other things, the initiative is to ensure reliable raw material supplies.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The German cabinet on Wednesday adopted fresh guidelines it intends to apply when dealing with emerging countries. It says it sees closer and more reliable ties with rapidly industrializing nations as critical to ensuring Germany's future prosperity.

The new guidelines refer to the need to boost already existing strategic partnerships with China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement in Berlin that closer ties with those nations would potentially open up new export opportunities for Europe's economic powerhouse.

He warned against viewing emerging countries as a threat to Germany's own well-being. "The rise of one nation doesn't [automatically] mean the fall of another," Westerwelle argued.

The new concept, which was developed in the German Foreign Ministry, also foresees intensifying cooperation with such countries as Vietnam, Colombia and Nigeria which have been steadily gaining in importance, but have been given rather less of the spotlight.

Hidden agenda?

In compiling the guidelines, the German government focused on creating more favorable conditions for securing strategically important raw materials - including so-called rare earths - as well as ensuring future energy supplies from sources as diverse as possible.

Westerwelle emphasized that partnerships would also entail dialogue on human rights issues.

He said globalization had been producing new "heavyweights" in the international arena which would make a readjustment of foreign relations indispensable. However he insisted that traditional alliances, such as that embodied in the transatlantic relationship, retained their importance.

"It's not about questioning old friendships, but rather about reacting to the new global changes," Westerwelle said.

He pointed out that the US too had shifted its focus more towards the Asia-Pacific region.

Author: Hardy Graupner (Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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