Blinken: US has ‘no better friend in the world than Germany’

BERLIN — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday described Germany as his country’s closest friend.

“I think it’s fair to say that the United States has no better partner, no better friend in the world than Germany,” Blinken declared, standing alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Blinken also thanked Merkel for “remarkable leadership.” The chancellor plans to stand down after 16 years in power following a general election in September.

For Merkel and Germany, the comments reflected a welcome change in U.S. policy since Joe Biden became president after years of fierce criticism from Donald Trump over issues such as trade and defense.

They may also spark some envy among British officials, who have long boasted of a “special relationship” with the United States — although Boris Johnson says he does not like the term.

Blinken was in Berlin to attend a conference on the future of Libya.

Earlier in the day, he held another harmonious press appearance with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, although Blinken made clear not quite everything was hunky-dory.

“We don’t always agree —  the foreign minister and I spoke today about … the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which we continue to believe is a threat to Europe’s energy security,” he said. “Germany has a different perspective and that happens from time to time among friends.”

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