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Merkel to address German parliament about future Afghan policy

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Jan 13, IRNA -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to address parliament later this month about her future policy on Afghanistan, an official announced in Berlin on Wednesday.

Talking to media, government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said Merkel is expected to outline her new Afghan strategy on January 27, one day before the start of a key international conference in London on the future of the war-stricken country.

He added German officials were "very thoroughly preparing" for the London meeting in a bid to come up with a unified Afghan policy.

The German government remains deeply divided over its future strategy in Afghanistan.

Berlin's new political assessment of the disputed German military mission in Afghanistan has been overshadowed by a major dispute between Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his fiercest inner-cabinet rival, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

While Westerwelle strongly opposes sending new troops to Afghanistan, Guttenberg has hinted at supporting the deployment of more soldiers in the war-ravaged country.

The ministers' quarrel has marred German preparations for the London conference as it is still unclear as to who will represent the government at the high-profile confab.

OT**1416

End News / IRNA / News Code 895921



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