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'Close friends'

June 5, 2011

US President Barack Obama has called on Germany to lend more support to the NATO-led military campaign in Libya ahead of Chancellor Merkel's official state visit to Washington.

US President Barack Obama smiling with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Obama wants more Libya support from his 'close friend'Image: pciture-alliance/photoshot

US President Barack Obama has asked Germany to provide more assistance in Libya as NATO countries step up efforts to force embattled leader Moammer Gadhafi from power.

"I am looking forward to discussions with the Chancellor, how we can work together to react more efficiently to changes in the region, especially Libya," Obama said ahead of Merkel's state visit that is set to begin on Monday.

In an interview with the Berlin-based Tagespiegel newspaper, the US head of state praised Berlin for already offering "indirect assistance" in Libya but added that the people in Libya and other countries in the region deserved the resolute help of countries like Germany and the United States.

"The lack of democratic experience in the region does not mean that the people's yearning for freedom is less significant or that they do not deserve our support."

Merkel's 'dream of freedom'

Obama also praised Merkel as a "close friend" and Germany as one of the "closest partners" the US has in the world. He said he could count on the chancellor when she made promises and, even though the two don't always see eye to eye on every issue, "we are always honest with each other as close friends should be."

Merkel is set to receive during her visit to Washington the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

Obama said Merkel would be receiving the distinction for her "dream of freedom" which she had with her in former Communist East Germany and which made her the first female German chancellor.

"In1989, Germany made the way to freedom possible for the countries of the former Warsaw Pact. Two decades later it serves as proof that democracy rewards those who are ready to work hard and make sacrifices," Obama said.

Author: Gabriel Borrud (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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