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    German president warns against turning back on U.S.

    Updated: 07 25 , 2017 14:11
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    BERLIN, July 24-- German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier has made a plea for maintaining close ties between Berlin and Washington despite recent irritation caused by the Trump administration.

    Appearing on television channel ZDF for a "Summer Interview" on Sunday night, Steinmeier emphasized the historical debt his country owed to the United States.

    "We certainly have no reason to assume a posture of moral superiority," the president warned.

    He said German democracy would not exist if it were not for the United States and the country's booming post-war economy could not have flourished if it were not for aid provided by Washington under the Marshall plan.

    "I would therefore advise not to throw everything over board, even if I admit that I am irritated by many things," he said.

    According to Steinmeier, just how much relations between Berlin and Washington had suffered recently was evidenced by the fact that "in the history of German-U.S. relations, transatlantic relations have never faced so much uncertainty."

    At the same time, Steinmeier expressed optimism that not all of the United States had forgotten the importance of close ties with Europe. He hoped to see "corrections within current U.S. politics."

    During the interview, the president went on to caution that the integration of more than one million refugees who have arrived in Germany since 2015 could take decades. Steinmeier said that society needed to be realistic and resilient about the issue, as well as avoid becoming too polarized as a consequence.

    "Above all, we must tell the people that is an enormous tasks which could last for decades," the president said.

    Migrants were receiving help to become integrated into German society. In turn, they faced the expectation to "respect our tradition and above all the laws of the land."

    Steinmeier called on his country's citizens to respect each others' views on the subject, saying that neither those who associated refugees exclusively with problems and those who denied the existence of any issues were in the moral right.

    Steinmeier is a former SPD politician and Foreign Minister who assumed the office of president in February 2017.

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