June 7th, 2011
11:27 AM ET
Washington (CNN)- German Chancellor Angela Merkel received an official welcome to the White House Tuesday morning in a ceremony marked by pomp and circumstance, a major honor for an ally who has differed sharply on key issues at times from her American counterparts.
The chancellor also will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, at a state dinner Tuesday evening.
Merkel, 56, dined privately with President Barack Obama at a Georgetown restaurant Monday night. The two leaders are likely to discuss a range of economic and security topics during Merkel's visit, including the turmoil in the Middle East and the shaky global economy.
"Our alliance at its core is a partnership between two peoples," Obama said. "The story of Germany and our alliance in the 20th century shows what's possible in the 21st. Wars can end, adversaries can become allies, walls can come down. At long last, nations can be whole and can be free."