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Obama to visit US soldiers at Landstuhl

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Photo. DPA
18:19 CEST+02:00
US President Barack Obama will visit US soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan at the Landstuhl medical center in Germany during his visit to Europe next week, the White House said Thursday.

Obama became embroiled in a campaign flap during his 2008 White House run, when he decided not to visit the facility during his swing through Germany as part of a campaign-style trip to Europe and the Middle East.

"The President will visit wounded warriors and their families at Landstuhl Regional Medical Facility in Germany on June 5, 2009," the White House said in a statement.

The statement said Landstuhl "serves a leading and vital role in the care and recovery of personnel medically evacuated from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other forward-deployed posts within the US European Command, Central Command and Africa Command areas of responsibility," the statement said.

The Pentagon advised Obama last year that he could visit the military hospital in Germany only in his official capacity as a senator, without the trappings of a political campaign.

Obama, then the presumptive Democratic nominee, cancelled the visit after deciding the stop on his campaign plane with staff and reporters in tow would be inappropriate as part of a trip financed by his White House effort.

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The campaign of Republican rival John McCain blasted the decision, maintaining that Obama preferred the company of "throngs of fawning Germans" at a speech in Berlin to that of wounded US troops.

Obama will next week visit Saudi Arabia, make a long-awaited speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, travel to Dresden and the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp in Germany and attend D-Day commemorations in France.

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