German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle arrived in Israel Saturday for a brief
visit in which he will meet Sunday with Israeli and Palestinian officials to
discuss the stalled peace talks and regional issues, including Iran and
Germany is among those countries calling for increased sanctions
against Iran, unless it halts its nuclear program.
necessary and soon. I can’t see there is really a constructive will on the
Iranian side for substantial talks,” Westerwelle told Reuters on the sidelines
of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Cyprus on Friday.
“If they will
not come back to the table, then probably the next round is necessary. This is
not something for next year, we are talking about next weeks,” he
On Thursday, he told a German newspaper Osnabrücker Zeitung, “The
situation is very serious. I can understand the people in Israel who, in light
of their country’s vulnerability, are worried about their existence” due to
Iran’s talk about the annihilation of their country.
The visit is the
second one Westerwelle has made to Israel this year, and is part of the close
cooperation between the two countries. It is also in preparation for the German-
Israeli government consultations that are due to take place in Berlin later this
But the visit, in which he will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, comes on the heels of a June decision
by a Cologne district court in Germany to ban circumcision.
ban applied only to the Cologne region, doctors across the country refused to
carry out operations because of what they saw as a risk of legal
On Thursday, Berlin’s senate said doctors could legally
circumcise infant boys for religious reasons in its region, given certain
Berlin became the first of Germany’s states to protect the
practice while the national government works on a new law to legalize the
practice across the country and overrule the Cologne
Westerwelle has said that Jewish life in Germany must be
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Reuters contributed to this report.