Tougher sanctions against Iran and other Middle East issues have dominated the agenda of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
Olmert showed Merkel intelligence information regarding the Iranian nuclear program in order to persuade her to continue acting to bolster the sanctions against Iran, a senior government source told the Israeli newspaper ‘Ha’aretz’.
Before the talks, Olmert visited the German capital’s Jewish Museum, where he left a wish in a pomegranate tree that read: “May this place serve as a memory and witness to what happened, and a hope for a future of flowering and flourishing for the Jewish people.” Olmert is expected to use the visit to try to win German backing for tougher sanctions against Tehran. “There is a request from the prime minister that the restrictions and the inspections of Iran be increased, including through the intensification of sanctions,” Yoram Ben-Zeev, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, told ‘Army Radio’ in Israel.
Germany, one of Israel’s staunchest allies in Europe, is involved in efforts of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Germany is also a main contributor to the international force deployed in south Lebanon after Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah guerrillas. In her weekly internet podcast, Merkel said the two leaders would also be preparing for the launch of German-Israeli government consultations, expected in March.