German foreign minister to visit PH, will discuss bilateral, trade tiesBy Fat Reyes
MANILA, Philippines – A German foreign minister will be in Manila to discuss bilateral, trade and regional ties with Philippine officials, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Monday.
In a statement, the DFA said that German Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, accompanied by a 12-man business delegation composed of officials of the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO), will be in the Philippines for a two-day official visit from February 7 to 8 upon the invitation of Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario.
The DFA said that Westerwelle’s visit “is the first by a German Federal Foreign Minister in more than 12 years and reciprocates an official trip to Germany by Del Rosario in December 2011.” It said that the last visit to the country by a German Federal Foreign Minister was made in July 2000 by Hans-Dietrich Genscher.
“Dr. Westerwelle’s visit is a very strong signal of the interest of both the Philippines and Germany to further enhance bilateral relations,” it said.
It said that the Westerwelle and his group’s visit would involve a bilateral meeting with a delegation headed by Del Rosario.
It added that Westerwelle would pay a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III before he “speaks in a discussion on the Mindanao peace process with representatives of the civil society.”
Westerwelle would attend a business roundtable organized by the German Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) and would visit a German ship management company before flying out of Manila on his way to Singapore, the DFA said.
The DFA noted that Germany remained the Philippines’ second largest export market in the European Union (EU) and the second biggest source of tourists for the Philippines in Europe. It said that trade between the two countries from January to September 2012 amounted to around $2.6 billion.