04:12 GMT +322 July 2019
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    US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend during the official opening ceremony of the Hanover industry Fair at the Hannover Congress Center HCC in Hanover, on April 24, 2016.

    Merkel Warmly Welcomes Obama for Closed-Door Meeting in Berlin

    © AFP 2019 / Ronny Hartmann
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    The current German chancellor and former US president rubbed shoulders during summits for 8 years. Despite Donald Trump taking over the reins from Obama in the White House, bringing along with him anti-German rants about defence spending and the country’s car manufacturers, Angela Merkel and Back Obama have not let their special bond lapse.

    The “date” between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former US President Barack Obama, who met in Berlin, stirred social media with photo evidence of their tender friendship. Merkel hosted Obama, who is in Germany for a series of public events, at the chancellor’s office in the German capital. They talked for an hour and a half during a private meeting. Before cozying up in her office, Merkel came out of the building to personally greet the ex-US president on the red carpet.  As the German outlet Die Welt points out, transatlantic relations, now clouded with rows over tariffs and the US pull-out from the 2015 Iran deal, might be the central theme of this date.

    Yet, when German government spokesman Steffen Seibert was asked if the meeting was a clear sign to Donald Trump, he said “I would strongly disagree with this impression”. He stated that the meeting was a private appointment, and noted that the chancellor met the former US president for a conversation — as is the fashion with former presidents and heads of government, "with whom she worked closely and well for a long time after their term is over”. Nevertheless, this discussion was not meant for the press, according to a government spokeswoman. 

    But even paparazzi-style photos of Merkel, warmly welcoming Obama at her office doors, and both politicians, seen to be discussing something through a glass window, immediately became the talk of social media. 

    ​Some suspected a kind of a conspiracy or disrespect towards the current US president.

    ​Others reproached Obama for sticking to his presidential habits.

    ​However, many were just touched by their friendly relationship.

    ​Merkel and Obama had developed a kind of political friendship during his eight years in the White House despite her being the head of the conservative Christian Democratic Union and him belonging to the more liberal US Democratic Party. Obama even branded Merkel one of his “favourite partners” during his time in office.

    READ MORE: ‘We Have Something in Common’: Trump Jokes With Merkel About Obama Wiretapping

    However, it was not only words, because his last international visit as president happened to be a trip to Germany in November 2016 and the final call as president from the White House before vacating it for Trump was to Angela Merkel. Since leaving office, Obama has visited Berlin on numerous occasions and even shared a stage with Merkel during a forum in May 2017.

    Even the body language in their photos was strikingly different from her posture with Trump. Despite occasionally praising Merkel in his public speeches, Trump is often heard lambasting Germany for missing NATO’s 2% guideline, or imbalanced trade with the US.

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    Tags:
    good friends, meeting, policy, NATO, Angela Merkel, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Germany, United States, Berlin
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