Crisis diplomacy at a time of dramatic changes
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has arrived in Doha. The capital of Qatar is the first stop on his trip to the Gulf region, the Middle East and Turkey from 4 to 8 June. In making this trip, he aims to get a firsthand view of the situation and assess the risk of the violence in Syria infecting the rest of the region.
Westerwelle with the Prime Minister
During his visit to the region, Foreign Minister Westerwelle will meet with vital partners to discuss possible steps to be taken in order to see Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria finally implemented. The German Government remains committed to the goal of finding a political and diplomatic solution in Syria. The Foreign Minister’s trip is part of Germany’s broader policy of intensive crisis diplomacy at a time of dramatic changes in the Arab world. The Gulf states play an important role within the Arab League and the Group of Friends of the Syrian People. As a pivotal power in the region, Turkey is crucial to solving the crisis in Syria.
In Doha on 5 June, Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement:
We want a political solution because we believe that a military escalation could start a conflagration engulfing the whole region. And that has to be prevented. Therefore it is important to hold talks in the region now.
Westerwelle’s talks during the trip will also touch on the ongoing crises and tensions in the region such as the Iranian nuclear programme and the Middle East conflict.
The first leg of his journey takes the Foreign Minister to Qatar. He plans to engage in talks there with the Emir of Qatar as well as the country’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs on 5 June.
From there, he will travel on to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On 5 June, Westerwelle will also meet his UAE counterpart in Abu Dhabi. On 6 June, he will give a speech at the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and meet representatives of the UAE Federal National Council.
On 7 June, the third stage of Westerwelle’s visit will see him in Istanbul, where he will take part in the Global Counterterrorism Forum and discuss the situation in Syria with Turkey’s Ahmet Davutoğlu and other Foreign Ministers in a number of prior and parallel meetings.
For the fourth and final leg of his journey, on 7 and 8 June, the German Foreign Minister will be in Lebanon. The country has been increasingly affected by the crisis in Syria. In Lebanon, Minister Westerwelle wants to work towards deescalating the situation.
Intensifying bilateral relations with the Gulf states
On the Persian Gulf, the agenda will also include strengthening bilateral relations with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The latter is celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations with Germany in 2012.
Before the start of the talks, Westerwelle said: “We intend to intensify our economic relations with the Gulf states, above all in the energy and health sectors.”
Germany’s commitment to Lebanon
Fast patrol boats deployed as part of UNIFIL
© picture alliance / dpa
Westerwelle’s visit to Lebanon at the end of his journey on 7 and 8 June is intended in part to underline Germany’s commitment to stability in the country. He will meet Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour and Nabih Berri, the Speaker of Lebanon’s Parliament. In view of the upcoming extension of the UNIFIL mandate, Foreign Minister Westerwelle also intends to meet with representatives of the German UNIFIL contingent.
This is Westerwelle’s sixth trip to the Arabian Peninsula. It is the third time he has been to Qatar and the UAE, and his second visit to Lebanon, the first having been in 2010.
Last updated 05.06.2012