Calls for Berlin to honour Ronald Reagan

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Germany's popular defence minister led calls Wednesday to name a street or square in Berlin after late US president Ronald Reagan, seen by many as paving the way to German reunification.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told mass circulation Bild: "Naming a street after this great honorary citizen would be a very welcome step."

Politicians from Germany's governing coalition parties said the late president should be honoured in Berlin on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth on February 6.

Ruprecht Polenz, from Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right Christian Democrats, said: "Reagan's determination and clear message led to the fall of the Iron Curtain.

"We should permanently and prominently honour this great friend of Germany," added Polenz, also in Bild.

Martin Linder, from the pro-business Free Democrats, Merkel's coalition partner, said: "The least we could do is name a street or square after him."

In a landmark speech in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate in 1987, Reagan famously called on then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down" the Berlin Wall.

Two years later, the Berlin Wall was yanked down in a peaceful protest, leading eventually to the historic reunification of Germany in 1990.

© 2010 AFP

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