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Germany

Defense minister calls on Berlin to name a street after Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan is remembered in Germany for calling for the Berlin Wall to be torn down. Now some conservative politicians are accusing Berlin's left-wing government of ignoring the late US president's 100th birthday.

Ronald Reagan

Many Germans credit Reagan with helping to end the Cold War

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has called on Berlin to name a street or square after the late American President Ronald Reagan.

"A street named after this great honorary citizen would be very welcome," he told the mass-circulation daily newspaper Bild.

Guttenberg added that Berlin's public expression of gratefulness should not end with Rudi Dutschke, a leading figure of the German left-wing students' movement in the 1960s who had a street named after him by the capital's left-wing government in 2008.

Politicians from the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and Free Democrats (FDP) supported Guttenberg's call, with CDU foreign policy spokesman Ruprecht Polenz telling Bild he did not think German reunification would have happened at all without Reagan.

"Ronald Reagan brought down the Iron Curtain with his persistency in deed and clarity in speech," he said, criticizing the Berlin Senate for not planning any official memorial service for Reagan's birthday.

"Germany and especially Berlin have a lot to thank Ronald Reagan for," added Berlin FDP parliamentarian Martin Lindner. The nation's capital should "permanently remember this great friend of Germany in a visible area."

Linder suggested in 2004 that Berlin rename the plaza in front of Berlin's central train station from Washington-Platz in honor of Reagan.

Reagan gave an iconic speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, which at the time was part of the border between East and West Berlin, in which he called on the then-leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, to tear down the Berlin Wall.

The latest discussion comes just weeks ahead of what would be Reagan's 100th birthday - on February 6.

Author: Andrew Bowen (dpa, dapd)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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