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Obama, Merkel to talk policy before night of pomp

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama plans the grandest reception for Angela Merkel on Tuesday. But weighty matters of war and economic turmoil will linger in the background of the German chancellor's visit.
The two leaders were expected to deal with a wide range of issues in the White House meeting. They include NATO operations in Afghanistan and Libya, the Middle East peace process and the world economy.
Later, Obama plans to treat Merkel to a night of high pomp at the White House, awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a formal dinner. The gestures appear aimed at boosting a relationship that has seemed more cordial than close.
Tuesday will start with a bang for Merkel - a 19-gun salute during a formal White House welcome.

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