Work Starts on New US Embassy in Berlin | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 05.10.2004
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Work Starts on New US Embassy in Berlin

Work is expected to begin this month on building a new United States embassy in Berlin after years of wrangling with city authorities over its proposed security perimeter. A ground-breaking ceremony will be held on Wednesday. The new building, due for completion by 2008, will arise next to the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of the city, on the grounds of the old American mission in Berlin that existed until the United States entered World War II in 1941. Germany and the US signed a protocol in in 2002 on the new mission, ending a long-standing dispute over the perimeter that became something of a diplomatic incident in 1999. The then mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen, attending the opening of a new McDonald's restaurant, remarked publicly that it was easier to open a McDonald's than an American embassy. The American demand for a 30 meter (10 yard) wide security perimeter would have forced the city authorities to close two thoroughfares in the heart of the city. The problem was solved when US Secretary of State Colin Powell agreed to reduce the perimieter width to 25 metres. (AFP)