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Defence issues dominate Ogi visit to Berlin

Adolf Ogi (left) and his wife, Christina, met Johannes Rau and his wife, Katrin

(Keystone)

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, has held talks with his German counterpart, Johannes Rau, at the end of a two-day trip to Berlin. During his visit, which focused on defence issues, Ogi viewed construction projects in the German capital.

Ogi's talks with the German defence minister, Rudolf Scharping, focused primarily on the European Union's planned rapid reaction force.

In his capacity as defence minister, Ogi said Switzerland would not contribute to the EU force, but did not rule out participation in the future.

He stressed that Switzerland was committed to preserving peace in Europe, citing its involvement in the Balkans, and its membership of Nato's Partnership for Peace programme.

During his trip, Ogi also attended a session of the German parliament on Wednesday and visited some of the city's massive construction projects.

On Tuesday, Ogi was awarded the Solar Prize 2000 for his endeavours to promote renewable energy sources.

Eurosolar president, Hermann Scheer, praised Ogi as the "mentor" of Switzerland's solar initiatives during his stint as energy minister in the early 1990s.

For his part, Ogi said he was a firm believer in the potential of renewable energy sources. "I always believed, and I still do believe in the ability of the world to transform itself," Ogi said.

swissinfo with agencies

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