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In Berlin, Annan discusses regional hotspots with German Foreign Minister

In Berlin, Annan discusses regional hotspots with German Foreign Minister

The situations in the Balkans and the Middle East was high on the agenda during talks in Berlin today between United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

Speaking to the press after the 45-minute encounter, the Secretary-General stressed that Germany and the international community could contribute to addressing the situation in the Middle East. "The US, the EU [European Union] and the UN - all of us have a role to play," he said.

Mr. Annan arrived a few minutes early for his meeting with Mr. Fischer, who was addressing some 500 French and German graduate students at the time. The Foreign Minister invited the Secretary-General to join him on stage, to the delight of the students. The audience gave a standing ovation to Mr. Annan, who addressed them briefly.

Later, the Secretary-General, along with the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, and the President of the Parliament, Wolfgang Thierse, viewed a segment of the Berlin Wall which will come to the UN in October as part of an exhibit.

The Secretary-General began his day in Munich, where he visited a police training centre and addressed former and future participants in UN peacekeeping missions. "As one peacekeeper to another," he told the Bavarian police, "let me say 'danke schön.'"

He then met with the Minister President of Bavaria, Edmund Stoiber, for about an hour. In remarks after that meeting, Mr. Annan stressed the need to work in partnership in order to fight against HIV/AIDS.

Tomorrow, the Secretary-General is scheduled to hold more high-level meetings with German officials, including Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Mr. Annan will also be awarded an Honorary Doctorate at Freie Universität Berlin.