His Majesty receives magnificent welcome
By a dpa correspondent

BERLIN - His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam began his three-day visit to the Federal Republic of Germany yesterday with an official welcome to Berlin.

His Majesty reviewed a military guard of honour in the garden of the residence of Germany's President, Christian Wulff, in Schloss Bellevue.

The weather in Berlin has been muggy and rainy all week, and protocol chiefs had to make sure that a downpour did not spoil the dress uniforms of the soldiers, sailors and airmen before the ceremonies even started.

The skies glowered but remained dry as the Sultan, dressed in a smart grey suit and checked blue tie, was welcomed in Schloss Bellevue.

Later, the monarch walked through the city's top landmark, the Brandenburg Gate.

The Sultan was accompanied by Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit and a delegation of Brunei ministers. A walk through the historic gate normally forms part of an official visit to the German capital.

Mayor Wowereit explained to His Majesty that the gate and the surrounding area form a major attraction for the city's tourists.

Summer thunderstorms held off as His Majesty waved to a group of onlookers who had gathered near the gate. Berlin police cleared the area prior to the Sultan's visit.

Earlier in the day, His Majesty visited Mayor Wowereit in Berlin's Town Hall.

Later, His Majesty met with Brunei students and Bruneians working in Germany at a reception.

The Sultan is scheduled to have a lunchtime meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, followed by a news conference. Their meeting is to concentrate on trade, cooperation on environmental issues and Brunei's role in Southeast Asia, the chancellor's office said. - Borneo Bulletin (9th June 2011)