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Merkel hopes for better US-German ties with Obama

DPA/The Local · 20 Jan 2009, 16:45

Published: 20 Jan 2009 16:45 GMT+01:00

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"I hope that our cooperation is marked with listening to each other and that decisions are based on the fact that only one country cannot solve the problems of the world, but instead that we can only do it together," Merkel told broadcaster ARD’s Morgenmagazin show. "And I will approach him with the same spirit."

Obama, who will be sworn in on Tuesday as the 44th president of the United States, begins his duty in a time of many challenges, the chancellor said. "First the economic situation in the world and in the United States of America, but also many international conflicts," she said, adding that she welcomed his intention to take up talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear programme.

Mending the relationship between Russia and America, particularly regarding the US missile defence system to be built in neighbouring Poland and the Czech Republic, will also be essential, she said.

“And I will make that clear,” Merkel added.

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Merkel's Social Democratic challenger for the chancellorship in Germany’s upcoming federal election, stressed that the financial crisis would be the biggest challenge as Obama begins his term.

"Like us, he must stem the economic crisis with strength," Steinmeier told daily Passauer Neue Presse on Tuesday, adding that this work would include working together with Europe to make the global finance system more transparent.

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"Beyond that we need to close the ranks between America and Europe" for a "new transatlantic agenda" in the fight against climate change, creating energy security and working towards worldwide disarmament to handle international conflicts, Steinmeier said.

Steinmeier said he would try to quickly arrange a meeting with Obama, adding that transatlantic ties could help improve relations with Russia and Eastern Europe.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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