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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas Meet in Mödlareuth in Recognition of 30th Anniversary of Fall of Berlin Wall

November 8, 2019

image © Thomas Koehler

This weekend, in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is traveling to Germany to meet with his German counterpart, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

The two officials will be meeting in the village of Mödlareuth, which sits on the border between the German states of Thuringia and Bavaria. Starting in 1952, the Soviet-occupied side of the village located in Thuringia was legally separated from the American-occupied Bavarian half. Friends and families were separated by the partition, and many residents were forced to leave their homes located at the new border. A concrete wall was built 12 years later, eventually earning the town the nickname “Little Berlin.” The Mödlareuth border crossing was opened one month after the fall of the Berlin Wall on December 9, 1989.

Secretary Pompeo also has a personal connection to Mödlareuth: he served as a tank commander for the US Army in nearby Bamberg in the 1980s.

In addition to Mödlareuth, Pompeo and Maas also visited other notable sites, including St. Nicholas Church, which was central to the peaceful revolution, and the city of Halle, where they will remembered victims of a recent attack and took a stand against antisemitism.

During the visit, both were keenly aware of the special role that the US had in the promotion of democracy and reunification in Germany. With one eye on their shared history, Maas and Pompeo also discussed opportunities for multilateral cooperation on contemporary international crises, including conflicts in Syria, Urkraine, and Afghanistan.

Speaking on the topic of transatlantic cooperation, Minister Maas has issued the important reminder that “We want people on both sides of the Atlantic to realize that the United States remains Europe’s most important ally.”

Secretary Pompeo’s visit to Germany continues this weekend with meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

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