Merkel cracks pelvis skiing, cancels overseas trips

Merkel cracks pelvis skiing, cancels overseas trips

Unclear if German chancellor's Israel visit next month will be affected

PM Benjamin Netanyahu with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, January 18, 2010. (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90)
PM Benjamin Netanyahu with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, January 18, 2010. (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel cracked her pelvis during a skiing accident in the Swiss Alps and will have to cut back on her work schedule for the next three weeks, her spokesman said Monday.

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters the chancellor suffered what she first thought was just a bruise to her left rear pelvic area while cross-country skiing but doctors later determined it was an “incomplete” bone fracture that will require her to rest for three weeks.

As a result, Seibert said Merkel had canceled a Wednesday visit to Warsaw, Poland, and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has called off his trip to Berlin which had been set for Thursday. Seibert said Merkel would continue to preside over Cabinet and government meetings.

He said Merkel’s fall occurred “at low speeds” but was unable to say if another person was involved.

Merkel is set to visit Israel in February, as is British Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Ministry officials announced last week. It was not immediately clear whether that trip would be affected.

The leaders are to make the trips within days of each other in mid-February, though they won’t overlap.

While the trips will come amid peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, an Israeli diplomatic official denied an Israeli TV report that the purpose of the visits was to push along peace talks.

The visit will be the first to Israel for Cameron since he was elected prime minister in 2010.

For Merkel, the trip will be made with a number of Cabinet ministers in order to reciprocate a visit made by Netanyahu last year, in the framework of the “government to government” program.

Merkel last visited Israel in January 2011. Her newly installed foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is expected to make a trip to the region in the next few days.

Berlin in particular, because of its history in the Holocaust, has been vocal about its commitment to Israel’s security, recently selling Jerusalem a series of advanced submarines at a subsidized price.

“We’ll never be neutral and … Israel can be sure of our support when it comes to ensuring its security,” Merkel told a Jewish magazine in Germany in August. “That’s why I also said that Germany’s support for Israel’s security is part of our national ethos, our raison d’être.”

Britain and Germany have both been critical of Israel’s settlement policies and have pushed for the sides to reach an agreement based on a two-state solution, though much of their involvement in the peace process has been outsourced to the European Union, which is a member of the Quartet for Mideast Peace.

The two countries were also recently party to an agreement between Iran and the P5+1 which calls for eased sanctions of Tehran in exchange for curbs on nuclear activity and more robust oversight. Israel has been critical of the deal, which has yet to be implemented.

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