Steinmeier in Lome

Steinmeier in Lome

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will depart Sunday on a three-day trip to Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso aimed at highlighting Germany's "political, economic and cultural interest" in Africa, a foreign ministry official said Friday.

On Sunday, Steinmeier will hold talks with Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor and Foreign Minister Akwasi Osei Adjei, foreign ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said Friday during a routine government press briefing in Berlin.Both foreign ministers are also scheduled to attend Sunday evening's Africa Cup final between Cameroon and Egypt in Accra.

On Monday, Steinmeier will meet with Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe and other political leaders.

The trip to Togo is also to underscore the "positive developments in the process of democratization" in that country, Jaeger said, adding that Steinmeier will also inaugurate a medical treatment center for tropical diseases.

The German minister's visit to Burkina Faso which is presently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, is also aimed at pointing to "the exemplary positive development" of the African nation, added Jaeger.

Steinmeier, who toured Ghana and Nigeria in August last year, also plans visits to South and East Africa in the "second half of this year", the foreign ministry spokesperson said.

In other related news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Thursday with the new head of the African Union Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete in Berlin, deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg told the press here Friday .

Merkel who has placed a strong focus on Africa, visited the black continent last October, making stops in Ethiopia, Liberia and South Africa, the German leader has repeatedly stressed the importance of boosting aid for Africa.

"We know that we can really help with our resources ... and we want to show to this continent our understanding of freedom, justice and solidarity is not limited to us, but goes for the whole world," she was quoted saying.

Merkel has outlined major points for helping Africa like continuing debt relief programs, raising development aid funds and assisting the anti-HIV/AIDS campaign.

She has also warned of the dangerous impact of global climate change for Africa.

The chancellor has also called for boosting democratic reforms and good governance in Africa.



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