CHANCELLOR MERKEL:  (Via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to the Secretary of State of the United States of America Mike Pompeo, a very warm welcome here to Berlin.  Welcome back, Secretary.  And indeed, you’ve come in very interesting times.  It’s a very special day today and tomorrow, and I’ve been closely following the visit that you began yesterday when you went down memory lane, so to speak.  You visited Modlareuth and a few other places.  From there, you went to Leipzig.  Again, very moving, actually, the city where I studied physics.  And from there, you’ve come here.  Secretary, we are happy to have you back.

And of course, for me this is a very moving event.  These are moving days because I happened to live on the other side of the Iron Curtain.  I lived there and I studied at university there.  And the fact that the United States of America and Germany, that Americans and Germans have become close partners and close friends, that the Americans – the United States of America have helped Germany achieve its reunification thanks to the efforts of George Bush and others is something that we will never forget.

Today we have other tasks lying ahead, and again, we are addressing them as partners and friends.  And we are having to face up to these tasks in the face of the world.  We will be talking about this today, amongst others, about the conflict in Afghanistan, about the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.  We will be speaking about the future of Syria, about peace in Libya.  These are some of the topics that are going to be on our agenda today.  But let me assure you, Foreign Secretary, we intend to continue to play an active part in helping solve these conflicts.

Again, a warm welcome.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you.  Chancellor Merkel, thank you for hosting me here.  It’s very gracious of you to do that.  It’s a very special time.  The night before I came to Germany, I was at the State Department with Secretary Baker and your Ambassador to the United States Emily Haber, and she spoke movingly about the history between our two countries.  And she spoke about your time in East Germany, and I reminded her that I had spent my time here on the other side and had not had the opportunity to go and see any part of East Germany.  So it has been an incredible privilege these two days to get a chance to do that, to travel from Grafenwoehr to Vilseck to Modlareuth across a line that I wasn’t allowed to cross back in 1989, and it reminds me of the importance of the relationship between our two countries.

The problems that Germany and the United States have taken on on behalf of the world have been enormous.  We have worked together to raise millions of people out of difficult situations from authoritarian regimes, not only here in Europe but across the world.  And we should be incredibly proud of the work that we have done together, and we should remind the citizens of Germany and the citizens of the United States and all across the world of the power of our two countries working together.

Chancellor Merkel identified some of the things we’ll talk about today, the challenges that confront our two countries in the world today, and I want everyone to know that we will – we will work on these together.  Chancellor Merkel’s been a great friend of the United States.  Germany continues to be an enormously important partner for us.  I saw the defense minister’s statement about increasing Germany’s contribution to NATO over time.  We think that’s powerful, because we think that relationship with NATO matters, and we need everyone working together to make sure that it remains a potent force for good in the world.  And so I look forward very much to our conversation.

You all have been great hosts for me these two days.  I hardly ever get to spend two days anywhere, and it has been a – I think a great statement about the partnership between our two countries, and I look forward to our conversations today, Chancellor.

CHANCELLOR MERKEL:  Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you.

 

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future