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Merkel visit prompts White House pomp

The Local · 7 Jun 2011, 20:35

Published: 07 Jun 2011 07:30 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Jun 2011 20:35 GMT+02:00

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Merkel rolled up to the South Portico of the White House in a limousine, and was welcomed by US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle before a 19-gun military salute and the playing of the German and American national anthems.

The chancellor, in a lime green jacket and black trousers, reviewed an honour guard with Obama before greeting a line of cheering schoolchildren waving American and German flags on the South Lawn of the White House.

"Germany at the heart of Europe is one of our strongest allies and Chancellor Merkel is one of my closest global partners," Obama said in welcoming remarks. "Our alliances with nations like Germany are more important than ever, indeed they are indispensable."

Merkel said she was overwhelmed by the "very moving" and warm welcome.

"We Germans know that America has always been a true friend to us, our friendship has grown and matured... and every day it is filled with new life," she said.

"In Berlin in 2008, you spoke to more than 200,000 people. And in your address, you said America has no better partner than Europe. And now it's my turn to say Europe and Germany have no better partner than America."

Obama greeted Merkel privately on Monday night and took her out to a private dinner in the upscale Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, and is rolling out all the pageantry the United States can muster.

At a lavish state dinner later Tuesday, he will also present Merkel with the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, another rare honor which seems to designed to scotch persistent reports in Europe that despite mutual respect, there is little personal warmth between the leaders.

The visit also comes two weeks after Obama's visit to Europe, in which he billed the transatlantic alliance as the cornerstone of US foreign policy, despite perceptions that he is more concerned about rising India and China.

Merkel is in Washington at a moment of high sensitivity for her government, as Germany fights a deadly E. coli outbreak that has prompted US officials to inspect all imports of cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes from Germany and Spain.

The talks between the two leaders in the Oval Office focused on the crises in North Africa and the Middle East, eurozone financial turmoil and other key issues.

Germany caused frowns in Washington by abstaining in a UN Security Council vote that endorsed NATO action against Muammar Qaddafi's forces in Libya. Germany, which has a non-permanent seat on the council, was the only European Union or NATO member to withhold its support.

But after speaking with Obama, Merkel underlined that Germany was "committed to the Libyan cause" and the success of the NATO mission.

Merkel said through a translator that "Qaddafi needs to step down, and he will step down," adding that Germany was taking part in the mission as a NATO member and stepping up its contribution in the Afghanistan war.

Story continues below…

"It is a jointly held intention that this NATO mission is successful," Merkel said. "It's important for the people in Libya, but it's also important for NATO, for the alliance at large, and here we have one heart that beats with the allies."

Trying to smooth over the differences between the two sides over Libya, Obama praised Germany for taking on additional responsibilities in the Afghanistan that have "freed up resources" for the war in Libya.

"The chancellor and I have been clear. Qaddafi must step down and hand power to the Libyan people, and the pressure will only continue to increase until he does," Obama, standing alongside Merkel, told White House reporters.

AFP/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:44 June 7, 2011 by Sysconfig
Before Angela returns to Germany, she should make sure she takes Obamas Nobel trophy instead of that cheap "medal of freedom". She deserves the peace medal, she has done more than him. He deserves the "freedom" one for freedom to to start wars that never finish, invade sovereign nations, and made the UN a puppet of Nato, and the IMF, a puppet of Washington.

She is a stateswoman, I love her. He, is a clown, and not a funny one at that..

Yes, America did good things in the past. I am Older...I remember..But these are not the same now, caliber of men, that lived back then. . He calls on a long historic friendship for her to now assist in carving Libya, like a Christmas turkey, and it is not Christmas yet.

I say to her and all Germans about this Long Friendship.

A good friend does not ask another, to overpay a favor.

God Bless and help us all in these confusing and difficult times..
15:24 June 7, 2011 by Englishted

"She is a stateswoman, I love her. He, is a clown, and not a funny one at that."

Are you mad ?.
15:48 June 7, 2011 by marimay
I have to wonder why Merkel doesn't speak English. A lot of people here speak English.
16:01 June 7, 2011 by adipk
"Merkel and Obama meet amid tensions" sure dude we shall see some "discussed tensions" and eco down graph in Germany.

By the way what kind of tension they aimed?
16:05 June 7, 2011 by wenddiver
@Sysconfig-A good friend does not ask another, to overpay a favor.

Get a grip you don't even defend yourself, let alone the US. When has the US ever been able to count on Germany??? I would say the relationship with Germany's modern leaders is almost completely negative. Your statesman was offered the US's highest civilian medal (for God knows what)and she didn't even come to get it. She is a rude clown. Look at her, she came dressed as a bag lady!!! She is the dumpiest looking person in the whole picture. The relationship Westerwelle has established with the US, I wouldn't even send an Honor Guard. Germany's last Regime was even worse.
16:08 June 7, 2011 by ame64
Firstly Obama NEVER deserved a peace prize, that was just some mega a** crawling, no more and no less. It seems the Nobel Peace prize is worthless these days.

Angela Merkel doesnt speak english because she didnt learn it, as her to speak russian, I bet she does it real good.

So what did she do to deserve the freedom medal, hell no idea. After the way Germany supported the Americans over the years, she shouldnt have even been allowed to go there.

I suppose more goes on behind closed doors as we know.

Stateswoman, ha, a woman in a real state, a messy state.
16:31 June 7, 2011 by derExDeutsche
@ Englishter

No, unfortunately. @Sysconfig is far from mad. This war is solely an act aggression born out of the desire to 1. Control Oil wealth, and 2. build up another 'Direct Democracy'. One that is controlled by the Europe and USA under the guise of the UN.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT a huge Angela Merkel fan, just as I am not a fan of the European-style 'Direct Democracy' both she and Obama champion.

as James Madison said about Direct Democracy,

"A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."
17:06 June 7, 2011 by frankiep
2003: Germany is being strong and principled by not caving into American pressure to take part in a war which is based on exaggerated claims, which goes against international law, and for which no realistic plan or exit strategies exist.

2011: Germany is shirking its responsibilities and being short-sighted because it is not caving into American pressure to take part in a war which is based on exaggerated claims, which goes against international law, and for which no realistic plan or exit strategies exist.

Funny how when someone tells a republican American president to go to hell when he asks them to join in on an ill conceived military adventure it is considered heroic. Yet when a democratic American president asks the same thing and receives the same response it is considered a sign of weakness and treachery.

Man, you just have to love the media and it's double standards.
17:49 June 7, 2011 by lunchbreak
Its all politics of course. Angela and the germans know enough to be on the right side of history.
18:58 June 7, 2011 by Major B
This visit, it's "pomp and ceremony" and rich sybolism is about the ultra importance of good relations between the United States and Germany. What a great story. It could have been so different, had some great forward thinkers years ago pursued weaker policies.

But the "Fifth Graders who comment in this forum miss those points. This is above personalties. And I would say the perhaps Merkel did deserve the Nobel prize over Obama and he didn't even want it anyway. But his story, like Merkel's, is remarkable. But the "Fifth Graders" are well read enough nor have the intellectual capacity to understand that.

Westerwelle and his many screw ups will be gone one day. So will Obama, Merkel and their successors. I just hope and pray the Fifth continue to be resigned to "their girly fussing" on columns like this and not in public office in either country

As much as I hated U.S. involvement in Libya I am glad I am not mourning over the "Srebrenica of North Africa" in Benghazi. But the fools who comment here don't care about the this modern tradgedy that took place not even 20 years ago in Europe of all places.

The pursuit of "oil wealth" in Libya? Oh yeah, like all the oil wealth the U.S. is getting out of Iraq. Geez
20:11 June 7, 2011 by Sysconfig
In that Iraq venture, the one that en the end was based on the say so of an Iraqi engineer who provided evidence, skillfully used by Colin Powell, at the UN poor chap, and the White house desire to believe anything to bolster its desire to get Hussein were warned by GERMAN INTELLIGENCE that the man was not reliable, What happened,, we were sucked into a war based on a LIE of one man, and lackeys like Chalabi.

Was that lie worth the tens of thousands who died since then? Haven;t we learned anything from wiki?We paid and did a better job of training and paying for future terrorists than there were terrorists!!

Jesus Christ.!

Did we get Oil? no..we thought we were..no..the Chinese are getting it and Iran is a new partner...Great strategic planning!

Why Libya..Oil, could it be that it takes ttwo kinds of saudi Oil to near the quality of Libyan sweet oil. Highly prized and rare Could it be its Gas? google it!!

Could it be its Water resources discovered? potentially making it a bread basket of the Middle east? google it!

Could it be..as far as 2009, he would nationalize the Oil companies? a la Chavez? for the benefit of his people? Better a despot in Yemen, than a Chavez in Libya!

German Intelligence was right then, and Angies common sense and intelligence is correct now,

To Editor : I believe there is a typo in the Headline , It should read

"Merkel visit prompts White House Pump"

IPlease..s ok Its ok..no thanks necessary :) Hugz
20:43 June 7, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Angelea Merkel deserves this award, but she probably sees it for what it is - a diversion and a wooing gesture from Obama to try and enlist the help of the world's 4th largest economy for the U.S.A.'s global interests. Hey, I'm happy someone is looking out for American interests, but Merkel should be allowed to look out for the German people's interests as well without all of this unneccesary pressure from the "U.N." and the U.S. That's politics I suppose, and no matter what opinion we have, they will do whatever they want anyway.
00:05 June 8, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, these are interesting times for both America and Germany. This is an extraordinary opportunity for both nations to truly set the standard for peaceful, stable and prosperous living. The world is in desperate need of a nation to step forward and lead humanity out of the unprecedented mess that it's in.

America is a very unique country, in that it has achieved some amazing things in a period of just 234 years. However, as most of know, the country is at an historical Crossroad. It is therefore absolutely imperative that a new group of intellectuals step forward and present new ideas, and effective solutions.

Germany has experienced the worst of times. But that was back during the middle of the past century. The nation is a wonderful position to learn from the past and establish something truly brilliant for humanity.

The top 10 list of the happiest countries in the world, featured on MSNBC yesterday, included only small nations such Denmark, Norway, Austria and Switzerland. If a large nation such as America or Germany were to make that exclusive list, then you could say "This world is finally becoming the place it was meant to be."
00:07 June 8, 2011 by jmclewis
Obama, is so happy to see Angie it is a great distraction from the current US Economy for a week!
00:09 June 8, 2011 by Freeman
As an American born citizen and for the last 26 years had family and myself living in Berlin. Why does my common law wife have problems with her lease of 3 decades. . Barack you dealt with her building owner in your 2008 speech there. Did you realize that? He is worse than you possibly know?
03:55 June 8, 2011 by Major B
It was a good Obama - Merkel press conference in Washington today. Good points made by both leaders. For the embecile above who said "Obama was a clown" you can go to hell. Both leaders discussed important matters in a cogent and detailed way and we finally have a U.S. President who can walk, talk, think and chew gum at the same time and isn't an embarrassment every time he opens his mouth.

Angela is a remarkable renaissance woman in her own unique way. For those who criticize her plain conservative dress I say better to have a plain but smart and good woman than flashy Ms Trash. She grew up in a conservative German State that seems to have kept traditional German values, thinking and the "soul of the volk" and I just bet in the future Germany will appreciate this freezer like preservative that produced smart good people like Angela. She trully cares about the downtrodden and oppressed.

both extreme left and right thinking produces the craziness that comes from extremes. Too much has been about back room machinations and the junior Machiavelli's in this forum often miss important nuances. The President made it clear how much he valued Chancellor Merkel's opinions, thoughts and ideas and publicly made it clear how much they communicate on phone, video-conference and other means on a multitude of issues at different times of the day and night. She stated it was "fun" working with Pres. Obama.

So much for the conspiracists. Sure both have serious domestic problems.

Those are like insects. You don't like them but they are part of life and you try to manage them until a horde of locusts put you out of office.

But at least here is a forum where the well meaning and trully idealistic can discuss and exchange at a much higher level.
04:32 June 8, 2011 by derExDeutsche
for the 'imbecile' who said :

'we finally have a U.S. President who can walk, talk, think and chew gum at the same time and isn't an embarrassment every time he opens his mouth.'

go s#!t in a hat, dummy.
05:45 June 8, 2011 by Zlik
Well @ Freeman, Mitt Romney is now leading that know nuthin Pres, walkin with Angie.
15:55 June 9, 2011 by cheresherri
To "Major B" who stated we (the USA) "finally have a U.S. President who can walk, talk, think and chew gum at the same time and isn't an embarrassment every time he opens his mouth", I don't know if you are in grade school and haven't studied world history yet or what, but I remember being taught about such an individual who "led" Germany in the 1930s and 1940s who was nicknamed the "fuhrer", and who also was a manipulative, smooth-talker just like Barack Obama. Appearances can be deceiving, and if you don't realize that Obama is on a course to destroy America as Hitler did to Germany, you are either brainwashed or just plain stupid.

Regarding the American perception of Germans and Germany, there are many, many Americans who love both, as a majority of American citizens have one or more ancestors who came to the USA from Germany...one line of my German ancestors came around WWI, and went back and forth many times, not wanting to leave. I hope to visit the great nation of Germany and all her truly wonderful people one day soon!
19:34 June 9, 2011 by donniaahumanoid
@cheresherri, are you seriously comparing Obama to Hitler? Um. Okay. I don't know why you think he's trying to destroy America. Is it the economy you think he's ruining? Because if you're going to point fingers at anyone, you better do it to the idiot who was president before him. Obama came into office when USA's economy was crap, so of course, the typical, slightly dimwitted American would blame him for it instead of looking back to the start of the problem: way before he was in office. Keep your delusional thoughts in your delusional head, please.
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