German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was stuck in Abu Dhabi after her plane encountered mechanical difficulties early on Monday.
Baerbock was on her way to Australia to kick off a week-long trip to the Pacific region, which would also see her hold talks in New Zealand and Fiji.
After a stopover to refuel in Abu Dhabi, the flight carrying Baerbock and her delegation had to dump fuel and turn around.
A German Foreign Office spokesman Sebastian Fischer who was on board explained that “due to a mechanical problem, we have to return to Abu Dhabi for safety reasons. Options for further travel arrangements are currently being clarified.”
Patrick Diekman, a journalist traveling with the foreign minister, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the plane damage must first be determined. He added that the crew could not continue flying immediately for labor law reasons.
Shortly after take-off, the captain informed passengers that there were problems with the retraction of the landing flaps.
It’s not the first time problems with planes have derailed German diplomacy.
In mid-May, Baerbock was stranded in Doha, Qatar, due to a flat tire on her government aircraft.
Last year she had to cancel a meeting with her British counterpart after her airplane was grounded in Ireland due to ice.
Barbock’s first visit to Australia
During her inaugural visit to Australia, Baerbock plans to visit both the capital Canberra and the metropolis Sydney. A meeting with Foreign Minister Penny Wong is also planned in Sydney.
According to the German Foreign Office’s website, the main topics Baerbock intends to discuss with regional partners will be economic security, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and China’s role in the Indo-Pacific.
On Tuesday in Canberra, Baerbock plans to take part in a ceremony for the return of cultural objects to representatives of the Indigenous Kaurna people at an institute for Aboriginal studies.
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dh/lo (dpa, DW sources)