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President Obama Holds a News Conference With German Chancellor Angela Merkel

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Friday, June 26, 2009; 12:55 PM

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Willkommen. It's my pleasure to welcome Chancellor Merkel to the White House. We had a very productive discussion in the Oval Office, and our meetings will continue this afternoon.

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Chancellor Merkel's visit is the latest chapter in the long partnership between our two countries: the service of our men and women in uniform who stood together through a long Cold War and who serve today in Afghanistan, the innovation of our entrepreneurs who help to sustain our economies, and the bonds of friendships and trust between our people which are unbreakable.

In recent months, I've come to appreciate these bonds through my partnership with Chancellor Merkel. We've worked closely together at the G-20 summit in London, the NATO summit, and the E.U.-U.S. summit in Prague. I value her wisdom and her candor, and I admire very much her leadership and her pragmatic approach to getting things done.

She and the German people have welcomed me to Germany twice, during the NATO summit and again this month in Dresden. And today I'm pleased to return the hospitality.

Chancellor Merkel shares my belief that no single nation can meet the challenges of our time alone. Today we reaffirmed that the United States and Germany, one of our closest allies and an indispensable partner, will continue to play a leadership role across the range of challenges.

We're building on the bold steps we took at the G-20 summit by aggressively confronting the global economic crisis. I underscored our commitment to strengthening financial regulations, and I welcome Chancellor Merkel's commitment to reform.

As we prepare for the G-8 summit in Italy and look ahead to the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, we agreed on the need to avoid protectionism and to embrace concerted collective action that creates sustainable growth and shared prosperity.

I reiterated America's commitment to stand with Germany and lead in confronting the energy and climate change crisis. And let me say, Chancellor, that I've been very impressed by Germany's foresight and commitment to clean energy, which I saw in the many wind turbines as I traveled over the German landscape.

And it's my hope that the United States will match that commitment today, when our House of Representatives votes on a critical energy bill that will promote a new generation of clean, renewable energy in our country.

The chancellor and I discussed the tragic situation in Iran. Today we speak with one voice. The rights of the Iranian people to assemble, to speak freely, to have their voices heard, those are universal aspirations. And their bravery in the face of brutality is a testament to their enduring pursuit of justice.

The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. And despite the government's efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it.

As I've said before, the Iranian people will be the ultimate judge of their government's actions. But if the Iranian government desires the respect of the international community, then it must respect the rights and heed the will of its people.

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