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Hanover preps for President Obama's historic visit

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Hanover preps for President Obama's historic visit
US President Barack Obama. Photo: DPA
17:52 CEST+02:00
Barack Obama's visit to Hanover on Sunday will be the first time that a US President has visited the Lower Saxon capital's fair. And officials are taking it quite seriously: banning waving out of windows and locking down roads.

Preparations are underway for Obama's big visit to Hanover starting on Sunday, when he will open the Hanover Messe - one of the most important trade fairs in the world - and mull international policy with European leaders.

The Hanover fair is the largest for industrial technology wouldwide and will run until Friday April 29th. In his fifth visit to Germany as president, Obama is expected to tour the trade show with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday.

"President Obama's participation sends a special signal about Hanover fair's international appeal," said Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe AG, the company running the fair, in a statement.

"And the timing is perfect: in the midst of its reindustrialization the United States has become a very attractive business partner for industry. For German machinery and plant manufacturers, the USA is once again the number one market," he added.

The north German city has already been ramping up security in anticipation of the visit, including handing out flyers warning local residents to stay away from their windows and avoid waving as the president's motorcade rides by, so as not to alarm officers.

A security zone has been created at Seefugium in Isernhagen-Süd where the US President will likely stay on Sunday and Monday evenings, the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung (HAZ) reports.

From Sunday morning on, all people who want to enter the vicinity of the district will be checked by police and the surrounding streets will also be partially blocked, the newspaper reports.

The university will also be affected by the visit, with students at the institute for architecture being instructed to use the back entrance to their faculty building.

Talks with European counterparts

Merkel will hold talks in Hanover on Monday with Obama and French President Francois Hollande, as well as the British and Italian prime ministers, David Cameron and Matteo Renzi.

German government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz said Merkel had invited her counterparts to discuss "numerous questions on international politics".

"There is no precise agenda yet," she said, indicating that Syria, Libya and the migrant crisis could be up for discussion.

Merkel said last month that she hoped to advance negotiations with the United States on the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which were started in 2013.

Anti-TTIP demonstrations in Germany have drawn hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets, who fear the deal would bring about widespread deregulation and call it "undemocratic".

A spokeswoman for Cameron said she "would expect" the leaders to also discuss the migrant crisis, the fight against Isis and the situations in Libya and Ukraine.

The meeting will take place at Hanover's imposing Herrenhausen Castle, famous for its baroque gardens.

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