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Baerbock and Cameron meet in Berlin after Russian leak

March 7, 2024

The meeting between the top diplomats of Germany and the UK was arranged prior to the leak of the intercepted military call. It will likely overshadow the talks in Berlin.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski during a panel discussion in Berlin. March 7, 2024.
Baerbock, Cameron and Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski attended a discussion in Berlin on ThursdayImage: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa/picture alliance

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock welcomed her British counterpart David Cameron in Berlin on Thursday to discuss the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war.

The "Strategic Dialogue" was established to discuss cooperation on foreign and security policy between the two countries.

The meeting however comes at an awkward time for Berlin; days after Russian media published an intercepted online call between senior German military officials about Ukraine. During the call, the officials discussed alleged British operations on the ground in Ukraine.

Russian leak to overshadow discussions 

During the second UK-Germany "Strategic Dialogue," the top priority was to discuss further military assistance for Ukraine and ways to increase the pressure on Russia. But the Russian leak will almost certainly overshadow the discussions.

The 38-minute audio recording, which German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius called an attempt by Russia to sow disunity throughout Europe, prompted concern in London that German officers were discussing sensitive details on an unencrypted line.

Former British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying by The Times newspaper that the incident demonstrated Germany was "neither secure nor reliable."

Pistorius had reportedly called allies to explain Berlin's position over the leak.

German Defense Minister warns it's all 'Putin's game' referring leaked military conversations

Ahead of his visit to the German capital, Cameron called for "strength, resilience and unity.

"We need to build up our defenses, stay close to our strongest friends, such as Germany, and reach out to new allies," Cameron said in a statement.

Ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war and illegal immigration also on docket 

Cameron and Baerbock were also set to discuss efforts to secure a cease-fire or a "pause" in fighting in Gaza and increasing aid for the Palestinian enclave.

On Wednesday Cameron pressed Benny Gantz a member of Israel's War Cabinet to increase the flow of aid into Gaza amid a dire humanitarian situation.

He told Gantz during a meeting in London that Britain wants to see an immediate humanitarian pause in the fighting, increased aid distribution by both land and sea and an expansion of the types of aid Israel allows into Gaza.

Baerbock has called for a humanitarian cease-fire to prevent further deaths in Gaza.

km/lo (Reuters/dpa)

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