U.S. secretary of state to meet Germany's Merkel

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel next week in Berlin for talks likely to address Iran's nuclear program and an upcoming U.S. visit by the German leader, a spokesman said Friday.

Rice will meet Merkel on Thursday at the chancellery, German government spokesman Thomas Steg said. She also will meet Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Germany, along with France and Britain, has been at the forefront of diplomatic efforts to address concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Steg said the issue could arise at next week's meeting with Rice, which comes as the U.N. Security Council tries agree on what action to take.

The meeting also is meant to help prepare for Merkel's planned May 4 trip to Washington, he said, without specifying who she would meet in the U.S. capital but saying she would attend an event organized by the American Jewish Committee.

Rice was last in Berlin in early December, shortly after Merkel took office, and the chancellor met U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington in January, reports the AP.

I.L.

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