Gabriel is Germany’s new foreign minister
28 Jan 2017 - 2:46
Berlin: German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was appointed foreign minister yesterday, days after he bowed out of this year’s election battle against Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Gabriel, 57, now replaces as Germany’s top diplomat Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is set to take over the largely ceremonial post of federal president in mid-February.
Outgoing President Joachim Gauck formalised Gabriel’s resignation as economy minister, a portfolio he hands over to Brigitte Zypries.
Gabriel’s centre-left Social Democrats are the junior coalition partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU block.
If the general election results in another left-right ‘coalition’ led by Merkel’s party, Gabriel would be expected to stay on as foreign minister.
On his first trip as foreign minister, Gabriel will head to Paris today to meet his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault.
“The partnership and trust between Paris and Berlin is very important to Foreign Minister Gabriel too and that’s why he is travelling to France,” a ministry spokesman told reporters.
Gabriel hopes to visit the US soon after the Senate confirmation and appointment of nominated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.