Biden lauds Germany’s Angela Merkel as she prepares to leave office

  • Angela Merkel’s trip to Washington on Thursday is likely to be her last as Germany’s head of state.
  • Biden praised Merkel’s ‘principled leadership’ even as they discussed contentious issues.
  • Merkel’s meetings with Biden were far friendlier than her testy confrontations with Donald Trump.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden lauded German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday during what is likely to be her last visit to Washington as the head of state, noting she was Germany’s first female chancellor, whose tenure lasted through four American presidents.

At a White House news conference, Biden praised Merkel for “strong, principled leadership” and for “never failing to defend human dignity.”

“Here’s an exemplary life of groundbreaking service to Germany, and I might add … to the world,” Biden said as Merkel stood by his side.

Despite Biden’s plaudits for the German leader, there were contentious issues on the agenda when they sat down earlier for a private one-on-one meeting. Among the toughest: the sharp split between the U.S. and Germany over Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline that would run from Russia to Germany and that the U.S. fears will give Moscow increased leverage over Europe.

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