Foreign Minister Gabriel travelled to Poland on Wednesday (8 March) for talks with his Polish counterpart Witold Waszczykowski. He thereafter continued eastwards to Russia. Gabriel met with President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday (9 March). This trip is Gabriel’s first visit to the two countries as German foreign minister.
In Warsaw: first official visit to a key partner
In Warsaw on his first official visit, Foreign Minister Gabriel spoke to his Polish counterpart about German‑Polish relations. The talks also focused on the shape and future of the EU and the security‑policy situation in Europe. Foreign Minister Gabriel has recently spoken out in favour of strengthening Europe and for further steps to be taken towards a stronger common EU defence and security policy.
Close relations between Germany and Poland – of interest also for the future of the EU
“Poland is not only a close neighbour for me, but also one of the most important partners in Europe,” Foreign Minister Gabriel told the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. “The roots of the friendship between Germany and Poland are incredibly strong. And these roots unite us and give us a firm foundation, no matter how turbulent the situation might be above ground.”
Gabriel also stressed the importance of close cooperation between Germany and Poland with regard to cohesion within the EU: “We now need to pool all our resources in order to be in a strong position during the next ten years. Europe needs all its strength for the recalibration of the world that we are currently experiencing.”
Meeting with President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow
From Warsaw Gabriel travelled on to the Russian capital. On this, his first official visit to Moscow as Germany’s Foreign Minister, he met President Putin at the Kremlin for a two‑hour meeting. He also met with Foreign Minister Lavrov, whom he had previously spoken to at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bonn (16‑17 February). Before attending this appointment, Gabriel had talked to civil society representatives at the German Ambassador’s residence.
Avoiding a new arms race
The talks with Putin and Lavrov covered a wide range of topics in addition to bilateral relations. These included the situation in Libya, eastern Ukraine and Syria, as well as the security‑policy situation in Europe and relations between Europe and Russia. Gabriel called for disarmament in Europe: “We are concerned that we are moving towards a new arms race.”
With regard to eastern Ukraine, Gabriel reported that both sides agreed on the aim of strengthening the OSCE Monitoring Mission. The OSCE observers ought to be put in a position to monitor the conflict zones around the clock.