Merkel marks anniversary of Berlin Wall

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo answers audience questions at the Korber Global Leaders Dialogue in Berlin Germany on Nov 8 2019

RFE/RL: Pompeo warns of threats to liberty posed by Russia, China

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a stark warning against China and Russian Federation on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, urging Western allies to defend hard-won freedoms.

From Washington, Trump sent a message of congratulations for the commemoration, adding that the United States "will continue working with Germany, one of our most treasured allies, to ensure that the flames of freedom burn as a beacon of hope and opportunity for the entire world to see".

"Walls that are invisible but which divide".

That communist authorities finally opened border crossings that day "teaches us that no wall that shuts people out and limits freedom is so tall or broad that it can not be broken through", Merkel said.

Speaking in the German capital on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Pompeo said free nations were in a "competition of values" with those who denied the rights of their citizens, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

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Such values "must always be lived out and defended anew", Merkel told political leaders and European guests at a ceremony, warning that these freedoms can not be taken for granted.

Under gray skies, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his counterparts from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia put roses through cracks in part of the Wall that is still in Bernauer Strasse, north of central Berlin.

Leaders from Germany and other European nations are attending ceremonies to mark the 30th anniversary of the day the Berlin Wall came down.

What it meant for world history: the official failure of the Soviet Union's experiment with authoritarian communism (the USSR collapsed two years after the wall).

But the optimism for liberal democracy has waned in the last years.

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Differences are not only resurfacing between the former east or west blocs.

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Merkel responded with unusual sharpness, saying Thursday: "I don't think such radical judgments are necessary".

"We can never take these things for granted, we can never assume that because there's this infrastructure. that it will exist and of its own force, just by the nature of it continue to work and be effective".

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