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Thousands hear Obama's call for unity in Berlin

Article published on the 2008-07-24 Latest update 2008-07-25 09:58 TU

Barack Obama waves to the crowd in Berlin.

Barack Obama waves to the crowd in Berlin.

Barack Obama, the presumed US Democratic presidential candidate, spoke to an estimated 200,000 people in Berlin on Thursday evening. In his speech, which lasted just under half an hour, he called for unity between all peoples and insisted that the US could not hope to progress unless in partnership with other nations.
(Photo: Reuters)

Obama addressed the public, which had been gathering from late morning on, from the Victory Column in the city's Tiergarten park. He described Berlin as a city that "of all cities, knows the dream of freedom". With references to the Berlin airlift as an example of postwar American-German cooperation he said there was "no challenge too great for a world that stands as one".

"The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.' he told the crowd.

While the senator touched on foreign policy issues such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel, his speech was not designed to outline the details of his foreign policy. His team had explained that discussion of specific policy was reserved for the president and was not the job of a presidential candidate.

He concluded with the following words:

"People of Berlin and people of the world, the scale of our challenge is great, the road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom, we are a people of improbable hope with an eye toward the future, with resolve in our heart. Let us remember this history and answer our destiny and remake the world once again."

Earlier in the day Obama met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Mayor Klaus Wowereit. On Friday he continues to Paris and then to London where he concludes his overseas tour on Saturday.