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Germany

German president stresses remembrance on first visit to Israel

German President Christian Wulff is in Israel on his first official visit. He met with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres before traveling to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

German President Christian Wulff

It's Wulff's first visit to Israel since becoming president

German President Christian Wulff kicked off a mostly ceremonial visit to Israel with talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Afterwards both men commented on the importance of close bilateral ties.

"Relations with Germany are as important such as relations can ever be," Peres said on the second day of his three-day visit.

Before heading to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony, Wulff said that remembrance of the Holocaust remained an "unbroken maxim of German policy."

Wulff's 17-year-old daughter and other German teenagers are accompanying him on his first trip to Israel since entering office, characterized by the government as an official, but not state visit.

The involvement of the teenagers is meant to underscore Germany's commitment to passing on the memory of the Holocaust to a younger generation of Germans.

Calls for a two-state solution

Wulff also expressed his support for just two-state solution to the conflict in the Middle East and called on Israel to constructively engage on the issue of further settlement construction, saying it was crucial to the peace process.

Wulff also said his country had a "responsibility" regarding Israel's security.

"Germany considers that it has a responsibility concerning Israel's right to exist and to security," he said.

Peres also called for peace through a two-state solution and thanked Germany for its support.

Later on Sunday Wulff is set to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Wulff, 51, is Germany's first head of state to be born after World War II.

Author: Holly Fox (AP, dpa)
Editor: Kyle James

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