Obama congratulates Germany on 20 years of reunification
US President Barack Obama congratulated Germany on the 20th anniversary of its reunification Sunday, praising the country as a close US ally and a vital friend.
The peaceful reunification of east and west Germany was a "historic achievement, as Germans ... advanced our shared vision of a Europe whole and free, anchored in the Euro-Atlantic institutions of NATO and the European Union."
Germany is "one of our closest allies and greatest friends," Obama said.
The United States honors "the courage and conviction of the German people that brought down the Berlin Wall, ending decades of painful and artificial separation."
Americans "are proud of our role in defending a free Berlin and in supporting the German people in their quest for human dignity," Obama said.
Then-chancellor Helmut Kohl presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 and the merger of East and West Germany on October 3, 1990.
In a poll released Friday, 84 percent of Germans said they believed national unification after four decades of division had been the right decision, despite a lingering economic gap between east and west.
© 2010 AFP