News / Europe

    Euro Crisis Likely to Dominate Kerry's Talks in Berlin

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy (C) on arrival at Tegel International Airport in Berlin, February 25, 2013
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy (C) on arrival at Tegel International Airport in Berlin, February 25, 2013
    Michael Scaturro
    With the crisis in Syria topping his agenda, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Berlin late Monday on the second stop of his first foreign trip since taking over at the State Department.

    His visit to Germany -- following his first stop in London -- will be short, but significant.  Kerry is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and, later, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. But the Syrian crisis will not be high on Lavrov's list of things to discuss with Kerry, said analyst Stefan Meister of the German Council on Foreign Relations.

    "These deaths of Russian children in the United States will be the key issue in these meetings. It is very emotional right now in Russia," Meister said.

    John Kerry's First Overseas Trip As Secretary of State

    • Traveling from February 24 to March 6
    • Visits Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar
    • Kerry has described the trip as a "listening tour"
    • Will meet with senior officials and leaders, as well as U.S. embassy staff
    • Talks will be wide-ranging, from Syria to missile defenses
    According to Meister, the death last week of a three-year-old Russian boy, apparently at the hands of his adoptive American mother, has shelved all other issues in the U.S.-Russian relationship.  Meister thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin is using the tragic event to score domestic political points. 

    "The Russian leadership, the Putin regime in its third term, is very much under pressure.  His ratings are going down.  People are very unhappy with corruption and the end of any modernization in Russia.  And that is why the Putin regime uses foreign policy issues to gain legitimacy for its own system," he explains.

    Countries visited on John Kerry's first trip overseas as Secretary of State, February 24 to March 6, 2013Countries visited on John Kerry's first trip overseas as Secretary of State, February 24 to March 6, 2013
    x
    Countries visited on John Kerry's first trip overseas as Secretary of State, February 24 to March 6, 2013
    Countries visited on John Kerry's first trip overseas as Secretary of State, February 24 to March 6, 2013
    Meister said European policy makers see the U.S. "reset policy" towards Russia as effectively over ... but that what comes next is unclear.  He suggested lack of domestic interest in the Syria conflict also is stalling any Russian action.

    "Nobody cares about Syria in Russia," he said. "This is not a topic there like it is in Western countries, where we see people dying on TV everyday."

    As for Kerry's choice of Europe as his first stop, European Council on Foreign Relations Berlin-based analyst Olaf Boehnke said it is being viewed favorably in London and the German capital. 

    "For the last 12 months, we had a debate on the 'pivot' to Asia, and what it means for Europe. And some of these complaints were emotional," said Boehnke. "Sort of like 'The United States fell out of love with Europe' - but now, by appointing Secretary of State Kerry, as well as Chuck Hagel, this was a clear signal towards Europe that we are not forgotten."

    Boehnke said he thinks German policy makers were happy when they learned Kerry's second stop would be Berlin.  According to Boehnke, political commentators say Kerry's meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle would likely include a discussion of the ongoing European economic crisis and reform efforts.

    Kerry's 11-day tour includes visits to Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Karen Hudes
    February 26, 2013 5:47 AM
    As chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Kerry knows very well what will dominate Kerry's talks in Berlin: Germany is repatriating gold from the NY Federal Reserve because the US is defying the Bretton Woods Development Committee's (188 Ministers of Finance) efforts to bring the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development into compliance. As chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Kerry did the same thing by putting conditions on the US contribution to IBRD's capital increase. The World Bank's 188 country shareholders are required to correct IBRD's internal control lapses. For eight years Congress has been trying to increase integrity in oversight and accounting at IBRD and indeed in the international financial system itself. Did Kerry develop amnesia when he became Secretary of State?

    by: Hal G Mayer from: Palm Springs, USA
    February 26, 2013 12:20 AM
    Yes, it is sad that a Russian boy, perhaps at the hands of his caretaker. It should not happen to anyone, Russian or not.

    But the editors of this article are doing us all a dis-service by mentioning it. There are much more important matters to discuss between European government officials and the US Secretary of State.

    Let's not stir things up where not necessary.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora