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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. President: Germany Key in Policy on Europe

BONN -- President Bill Clinton declared Germany on Monday to be a cornerstone of American policy in Europe and urged Bonn to help Washington solve problems both on the continent and elsewhere in the world.


He also said the United States and Germany had common concerns about issues such as integrating former Warsaw Pact states into Europe and finding a settlement to the war in Bosnia.


Clinton, the first U.S. president to visit Bonn since Germany united in 1990, said post-Cold War Europe also required more cooperation in trade as well as military affairs to help the whole continent come together.


"To imagine any of these things working out over the long run, the German-American partnership will have to be maintained and strengthened," Clinton said at a news conference with Kohl.


Kohl would not commit Germany to any action before a supreme court decision due on Tuesday which is expected to give Bonn the green light to send its troops for the first time on multilateral military missions outside Europe.


But the chancellor said Germany could not hide behind the Cold War-era excuse that it was a divided nation.


"We will live up to our international responsibilities within our abilities," he stated firmly.


Kohl has been trying to expand Germany's role abroad since unification but has been hurt by a disputed passage in Bonn's 1949 constitution that opposition Social Democrats say bars German troops from action outside NATO.


Clinton underlined the key role he saw Germany playing in Europe and faith he had in a nation some neighbors still mistrust.


"So many of our challenges are just to Germany's east -- what are we going to do in Central and Eastern Europe? What will be our new relationship with Russia?" he asked.