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Berlin mayor tells Donald Trump walls cause 'division and suffering' as President puts Mexico plans into effect

'We Berliners know best how much suffering a wall can cause,' Michael Müller says

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 28 January 2017 12:00 GMT
A portion of wall that already exists along the Mexico-California border
A portion of wall that already exists along the Mexico-California border (Guillermo Arias/Getty)

The mayor of Berlin has warned Donald Trump against repeating the “slavery and suffering” experienced by his own city with his planned Mexican border wall.

Michael Müller urged the new US President to remember his predecessor Ronald Regan’s famous appeal to “tear down” the communist-era Berlin Wall, adding: “Dear Mr President, don’t build this wall!”

He cited barriers in Korea and Cyprus as modern examples of the Iron Curtain that divided millions of Europeans during the Cold War.

Donald Trump wants import tax to pay for Mexico wall

“Berlin cannot look on without comment when a country plans to build a new wall,” Mr Müller said.

“We Berliners know best how much suffering the division of an entire continent, cemented by barbed wire and wall, has caused.”

The mayor said the destruction of the wall in 1989 was one of the most important moments of the 20th Century, and that such recent historical experiences must not be disregarded “particularly by those to whom we in large part owe our freedom, the Americans”.

“I appeal to the President of the United States not to go the way of isolation and exclusion,” he added.

Berlin was divided from 1961 by a wall constructed by the communist dictatorship in East Germany to stop its citizens from escaping to the West, becoming a potent symbol of Cold War oppression.

Mr Trump is aiming to fulfil his headline campaign promise by ordering American officials to begin designing and constructing a barrier along the 2,000 mile US-Mexico border.

Mexico has refused demands to pay for the project, causing the White House to threaten new taxes on Mexican imports to cover its cost, and President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel a planned Washington visit in protest.

He and Mr Trump have since agreed to “work out their differences” over the issue.

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