U.S President Barack Obama backed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to continue fighting for the liberal world order, saying he would vote for her if he could.
Obama named Merkel as his closest ally during a joint press conference Thursday in Berlin. Both leaders agreed closed cooperation between the nations should continue past Obama’s presidency.
Merkel says she keeps an “open mind” when it comes to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, but cautioned that cooperation will be based on “a common platform of democracy, freedom, advocacy for human rights all over the world and championing the open and liberal world order.”
Merkel further said she was relieved over how smooth Trump’s transition into the White House is going.
“I am very much impressed that in spite of a very tough election campaign in the US… the transition is going smoothly,” Merkel said. “This to us is a sign of encouragement that we will continue the cooperation that we have built with the United States.”
Obama said the German people should “appreciate” what Merkel is doing as a leader and be proud of her handling of the migrant crisis, which has brought more than one million refugees to Germany.
“She has great credibility and she is willing to fight for those values in a way that is very, very important,” Obama said of Merkel in a Thursday interview with magazine Spiegel. “I’m glad that she’s there and I think that the German people should appreciate her, certainly I’ve appreciated her as a partner.”
Merkel is expected to announce her candidacy for a fourth term as chancellor in the next few days. Obama endorsed her and said he would vote for her if he could.
“If I were here, if I were German and I had a vote, I’d support her,” Obama said during the press conference. “I don’t know if that helps or hurts.”
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