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Politics

German Chancellor Merkel to address U.S. Congress

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech during the festivities marking the anniversary of the formal re-unification of Germany in Saarbruecken October 3, 2009. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to the United States next month and address both houses of Congress, the government said on Monday.

Government spokesman Thomas Steg said Merkel, who won a second four-year term in a September 27 federal election, would address Congress on November 3 after accepting an invitation to appear by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It’s a rare honor for foreign guests of state to be able to speak before the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Steg told a news conference.

“Of Germany’s chancellors only Konrad Adenauer, who spoke to both houses in May 1957, has had this privilege.”

Adenauer, like Merkel a member of the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), was West Germany’s first postwar chancellor and an ally of the United States in the Cold War.

Merkel would also hold talks with U.S. President Barack Obama during the visit, Steg said. In a meeting in Washington in June, the two presented a united front on Iran, efforts to tackle climate change and regulation of financial markets.

Steg said details of Merkel’s speech were still being worked out, but that it would mention the Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, an event which led to the reunification of Germany and helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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