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Trump welcomes Merkel at White House

Trump welcomes Merkel at White House


AFP
WASHINGTON
PRESIDENT Donald Trump greeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a handshake at the White House on Friday -- a cordial start to difficult talks between long-time allies who now differ on a host of issues from immigration to NATO.
The veteran chancellor arrived at a snowy White House, hoping to reverse a chill in relations after Trump's tough election rhetoric.
The two leaders shook hands and smiled for the cameras before entering the West Wing, for a meeting that had been delayed three days because of bad weather.
The unlikely pair -- a cautious German chancellor and impulsive US president -- moved to the Oval Office, hoping to narrow differences on immigration and NATO but also Russia and global trade.
For years, Merkel -- a trained physicist -- had been president Barack Obama's closest international partner, with the two sharing a strong rapport and a similar deliberative approach.
With Trump, Merkel may settle for avoiding an open argument or a unkind 140-character Twitter missive from the US leader.
Before coming to office in January, the US president called Merkel's acceptance of refugees a"catastrophic mistake"and said she was"ruining Germany."
In a similar vein, Merkel has sought to remind -- some in the White House would say lecture -- the real estate mogul about democratic values.
Any"close cooperation,"she said, must be on the basis of the"values of democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity, regardless of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political belief."