Gabriel appointed German Foreign Minister

| Updated: Jan 28, 2017 02:24 IST

Berlin[Germany], Jan. 27(ANI): German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was appointed the Foreign Minister on Friday, days after he bowed out of this year's election battle against Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to Deutsche Welle, Gabriel moved out of the Economic Ministry into the Foreign Ministry in a Cabinet reshuffle on Friday. Earlier this week, Gabriel also stepped down from his post as the head of the Social Democratic Party. The Social Democrat on Tuesday said his low popularity ratings had led him to make way for his party colleague Martin Schulz, the former European Parliament president, as the top candidate in the race for the chancellery. Gabriel, 57, now replaces as Germany's top diplomat Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is set to take over the largely ceremonial post of federal president in mid-February. In his roles as economy minister and Merkel's vice chancellor, Gabriel has drawn praise from businesses for fighting for unrestricted trade. He managed to circumvent opposition from within the SPD to such agreements as the US's Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada. Outgoing President Joachim Gauck formalised Gabriel's resignation as economy minister, a portfolio he hands over to Brigitte Zypries. Gabriel's centre-left Social Democrats are the junior coalition partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU block. Gabriel's efforts have contrasted with Merkel's, however. Though the chancellor and former US President Barack Obama demonstratively expressed support for TTIP, Gabriel was more straightforward when the deal finally appeared dead. If the general election results in another left-right 'grand coalition' led by Merkel's party, Gabriel would be expected to stay on as foreign minister. On his first trip as foreign minister, Gabriel will head to Paris tomorrow to meet his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault. "The partnership, close friendship and trust between Paris and Berlin is very important to Foreign Minister Gabriel too and that's why he is travelling to France right away," a ministry spokesman told reporters. Gabriel hopes to visit the United States soon after the Senate confirmation and appointment of nominated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the spokesman added.(ANI)