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Obama to Europe: 'Afghans need our troops and your troops'

Latest update : 2008-07-25

After meeting with Chancellor Merkel, White House hopeful Barack Obama called on the US and Europe to overcome their differences and warned that America could not win the war in Afghanistan alone.

BERLIN - U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama urged Europe on Thursday to stand by the United States in bringing stability to Afghanistan and confronting other threats from climate change to nuclear proliferation.

In a speech to be delivered at the "Victory Column" in Berlin's Tiergarten park, Obama said America had no better partner than Europe and cautioned the allies against turning inward.

"I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan," Obama said.

"But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO's first mission beyond Europe's borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone."

Obama, who is highly popular in Germany, spoke to a crowd one local official estimated at 100,000.

The German media has compared his appearance to former President John F. Kennedy's famous 1963 "Ich bin ein Berliner" address.

Obama did not break into German like Kennedy, but spoke at length of the historic ties between the United States and Germany, touching on the Berlin airlift 60 years ago and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers," he said. "No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone."

He said Europe and the United States needed to stand together to send Iran a message that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions and urged both sides to move beyond their differences over the Iraq war to help suffering Iraqis rebuild their lives.

"Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future," he said. "The greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another."

Thousands of Germans and some tourists, wearing Obama buttons, "Yes We Can" t-shirts and carrying campaign balloons, cheered at the podium where he spoke.

Around 700 policemen are helping with security around the "Siegessaeule", a 230-foot (70-metre) high column built to celebrate 19th century Prussian military victories over Denmark, France and Austria.

Date created : 2008-07-24