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Obama Berlin visit to recall JFK speech likely
JFK in West Berlin on June 26th 1963. Photo: JFK Library

Obama Berlin visit to recall JFK speech likely

Published: 06 Feb 2013 13:39 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Feb 2013 13:39 GMT+01:00

US President Barack Obama is reportedly planning to visit Berlin in June to commemorate the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's legendary "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech given at the height of the Cold War.

With Obama heading to Northern Ireland mid-June for a G-8 summit of the world's most important industrial nations, he was considering also making a stop in the German capital, the regional daily Rheinische Post reported on Wednesday citing German government and US diplomatic sources.

"The timing is pretty realistic," an unnamed US diplomat told the paper, saying a Berlin visit was "likely" considering it would be so close to the anniversary of Kennedy's speech made on June 26th 1963.

The paper reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel had long hoped Obama would visit Germany before she faces re-election this September. Offering the US leader a chance to hark back to JFK's address expressing solidarity with West Berliners not long after the Berlin Wall was built would present her with a chance to appear as a worldly stateswoman to German voters.

It would also make good on her snub of Obama before he became president in 2008, when Merkel kyboshed his wish to make a speech in front of Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told the paper Obama had a long-standing invitation to visit.

"The chancellor once again invited President Obama in her note congratulating him on his re-election and she would be please to welcome him here," he said.

DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:55 February 6, 2013 by IchBinKönig
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
21:24 February 6, 2013 by MattyB
Maybe he's coming to warn Americans living in Germany that he can now kill them based on the opinions of nameless "top government officials" back in DC.
21:42 February 6, 2013 by pepsionice
Here's the thing....provided it's a weekend, he could draw 400k folks. The comical side is that he still operate Gitmo, runs the Afghan war, and kills Americans with executive orders via the drone business.

Personally, I think it'd be a great weekend to run the "love parade", in the midst of the speech.
02:34 February 7, 2013 by Eric1
JFK could never be elected as a Democrat in the USA today. He was to the right of Ronald Reagan and today's Democrat party has moved left of European socialist.
09:15 February 7, 2013 by So36
How much glue are you sniffing Eric? JFK's "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" speech would be considered commie treason by today's extremist Tea Party Republicans. The Democrats have moved so far right they're more conservative than Merkel's conservatives.
10:47 February 7, 2013 by Sastry.M
I distinctly remember the day of the event when JFK's speech was broadcast directly over the radio ending 'ish (Ich) bin ein Berliner'. Yes! 28 years after Berliners' spirit toppled the wall,opened the gates and distributed its debris to all freedom loving people the world over with the bitterness of divide ended and/but when the compare of economic standards between the east and west opened up, which made me remember the caption of a German film "Until money divides us two".

But the point of interest was the fate of JFK as the most outspoken U.S president who dared to call a spade a spade and the continued action of U.S policing wars all over the globe even after his demise. What the spirit of German unity and freedom which JFK inspired at Berlin's Tempelhof, can the diplomacy of Obama end the wars and restore peace and prosperity to all humanity?
06:30 February 9, 2013 by agbjr
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:16 February 11, 2013 by strahlungsamt
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:53 February 12, 2013 by PNWDev
@So36

You have set a new low for the standard of most uninformed. Dems have moved to the right? Completely clueless
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