Germany′s AKK travels to Israel in first overseas visit as CDU leader | News | DW | 01.07.2019
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Germany's AKK travels to Israel in first overseas visit as CDU leader

In her first trip outside of Europe as party leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer defended the Iran nuclear deal at a security conference in Israel. She also plans to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), kicked off her first visit to Israel on Monday by addressing tensions with Iran and urging for more defense spending in Germany.

Speaking at a security conference in the city of Herzliya, she defended the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying that the world has not yet found a more suitable way to curb Iran's nuclear program.

"As long as that is the case, we shouldn't give it up so carelessly. At the same time, I share Israel's security concerns with regards to the aggressive expansion of Iran's regional influence," she said.

Kramp-Karrenbauer — also known as AKK — said that Germany should make more of an effort to improve equipment for the Bundeswehr and meet its requirements as a NATO member.

It is Kramp-Karrenbauer's first international trip outside of Europe since taking over the reins of the CDU after Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped down.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is viewed as a potential successor to Merkel in the chancellery, has been trying to boost her international profile in recent weeks after a series of political blunders at home.

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Taking jabs at Putin

During her speech in Herzliya, the CDU leader took an indirect jab at Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently said that Western liberal values were "obsolete."

"To those who cynically say today that liberal democracy would be "obsolete," I reply: liberal democracy, human rights, freedom of the press and the rule of law were the right way, are the right way, and will be the right way," she said.

She also vowed that her party will work to combat anti-Semitism, adding that "this is our historical responsibility."

Kramp-Karrenbauer will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem later on Monday.

On the second day of her visit, she also plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as President Reuven Rivlin.

rs/jm (dpa, Reuters)

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