Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama Meets With Germany's Merkel

Obama's scheduled to speak in Berlin at 1 pm eastern time.
Who do Germans want for America's president? 
Spiegel: Would he drive to the Chancellery in a motorcade or would he take a helicopter for his visit to Chancellor Angela Merkel? Obama's charter jet had barely touched down at Berlin's Tegel Airport, and reporters were already asking the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate how he planned to get around the city.

Then he stepped into a sedan -- part of a long motorcade, accompanied by US security vehicles and German police -- and began the journey to downtown Berlin, with hundreds of fans standing by as he made his way. Obama briefly greeted a crowd assembled on the street before disappearing into the Chancellery. As she greeted the presidential candidate, Merkel said she was hoping to have a good conversation with Obama.

The talks between the German leader and Obama lasted for about an hour, and the pair reportedly discussed climate protection, global trade and German-American relations. Just after 12 p.m., the Illinois senator and his entourage traveled about a half a mile further to the Adlon Hotel near the Brandenburg Gate before a afternoon meeting planned with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the Social Democrats. He also has plans to meet with Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit.

Obama finally arrived at the Foreign Ministry a little after 2 p.m. and emerged almost an hour later. Immediately following the meeting, Steinmeier announced: "The atmosphere was open and trusting. We built on our telephone conversation from mid-April." Steinmeier said he detected parallels in their philosophy of foreign policy. "Cooperation instead of confrontation -- that is also his foreign policy aim," adding that it had been a good conversation. read more

What Obama might say:
According to Obama's advisors, the candidate is expected to call on Europeans to increase their role in the war on terror. Obama is expected to ratchet up its efforts in that campaign, an advisor told Reuters. Obama has already announced that he plans to send more US troops to Afghanistan. He is also expecting greater contributions from America's NATO allies in Europe.
In an interview published earlier this week in SPIEGEL, Obama foreign policy advisor Susan Rice called on NATO to increase its troops and "to the greatest extent possible" to "lift operational restrictions." Though Rice did not mention Germany specifically, Berlin has drawn criticism in the US and Canada for refusing to send troops into the hotly contested southern part of the country where the Taliban insurgency has grown in strength. Instead Germany's armed forces, the Bundeswehr, are restricted to peacekeeping and rebuilding in the relatively safe northern part of the country.