44 The Obama Presidency
Obama To Meet With Merkel at White House
By Michael D. Shear
President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss climate change, global security and economic recovery during an extended Oval Office meeting and lunch that begins later this morning, White House officials said.
The two leaders plan a late-morning news conference in the Rose Garden. On display will be their developing personal relationship -- which White House officials describe as solid -- and the potential for policy disagreements.
The two clashed in April over the best way to stimulate the global economic recovery, though Obama advisers have downplayed the rift between American and German policy on the issue. Merkel is expected to challenge Obama to be more aggressive on the issue of climate change, which Germany has made a top priority.
The meeting comes as Obama's bill to limit carbon emmissions is headed for its first real test in the House of Representatives.
U.S. officials said the discussions are also likely to focus on the disputed Iranian elections, increasingly aggressive international moves by North Korea and the ongoing difficulty in finding countries willing to accept prisoners from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The two may also discuss the future of the war in Afghanistan and Germany's role in the conflict. U.S. military and diplomatic leaders have been struggling to win promises of greater involvment from countries in Europe.
"U.S.-German relations are strong," press secretary Robert Gibbs said at a briefing yesterday. "I think they're going to continue conversation as we head into the G-8 about the importance of continuing to make progress and getting our world economy back on
The economy divided Obama and Merkel during the G-20 economic summit in London. In advance of the summit, Merkel made it clear that Germans had little intention of bowing to American wishes for an even larger package of spending to stimulate the German economy.
"We do not think much of the idea of a new package of measures," she said.
Obama advisers later said the U.S. had never demanded a specific stimulus action from German or other European countries. And in the end, Merkel joined Obama and the other leaders in pledging to do "whatever is necessary" to rejuvinate the economy.
But Merkel's public comments contributed to reports in German media that the relationship between Obama and her was cool. Asked about that during his visit to Dresden earlier this month, Obama was blunt.
"Stop it, all of you," he said told the German reporter who posed the question. "I know you have to find something to report on, but we have more than enough problems out there without manufacturing problems.
"The truth of the matter," Obama added, "is that the relationship not only between our two countries but our two governments is outstanding."
Posted at 8:57 AM ET on Jun 26, 2009
44 The Obama Presidency
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