Not even during turbulent times at home does the world stand still: the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the threat posed by North Korea’s missile programme and the future of the nuclear agreement with Iran are all pressing foreign policy issues which Foreign Minister Gabriel addressed during his one day visit to Washington on Thursday (30 November).
This was already his fourth visit to the American capital since he took up office in January. The United States is one of Germany’s most important partners outside Europe. During this trip, Gabriel met his opposite number Rex Tillerson once again to exchange views on difficult issues. Following their meeting, the Minister stated that there was a common position with the Americans in many areas. The future of the nuclear agreement with Iran was also raised during the talks: “We Europeans, together with the United States, want to work to limit the destabilisation of Iran in the region – without damaging the nuclear agreement.”
Gabriel also called for the upholding of the agreement in talks with Democrat and Republican Members of Congress. “There is relatively widespread understanding that the nuclear agreement should certainly be preserved but at the same time Iran should be put under pressure to cut back its support for terrorism, war and various trouble spots,” the Foreign Minister optimistically summarised.
An agreement with a strong message
According to Gabriel, the nuclear agreement with Iran is of crucial importance: “If the agreement fails, it would send a disastrous message with regard to rearmament, both in the region and around the world.” He added that ultimately the aim was to contain conflicts via regulating mechanisms. Gabriel stated he was convinced that “The latest North Korean missile test highlights once more the potential for escalation when there is no framework for settling a conflict.”
He added that close coordination with the US partners was required: “We need to develop common positions. We will continue our talks on the fringes of the NATO summit in Europe in the coming week.”
Previous visits by Gabriel to Washington:
February 2017 – Gabriel in the US: “We are closely united by shared values”
May 2017 – Gabriel back in Washington: Transatlantic partnership benefits both sides
August 2017 –Working closely with Washington: Foreign Minister Gabriel in the United States