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German, Israeli presidents mark 50 years of diplomacy; cite strong friendship, shared values

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BERLIN — German President Joachim Gauck has met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, saying that even though they disagree on some issues the countries are bound together by shared values.

PHOTO: Israel's President Reuven Rivlin, left, and Israel's ambassador to Germany Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, right, observe a minute of silence during a wreath laying ceremony at the 'Gleis 17' (platform 17) memorial for the deportation of Jews from Berlin to concentration camps at the Grunewald railway station in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 11, 2015. (Odd Andersen/Pool Photo via AP)
Israel's President Reuven Rivlin, left, and Israel's ambassador to Germany Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, right, observe a minute of silence during a wreath laying ceremony at the 'Gleis 17' (platform 17) memorial for the deportation of Jews from Berlin to concentration camps at the Grunewald railway station in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 11, 2015. (Odd Andersen/Pool Photo via AP)

Gauck said Monday he had explained Germany's position on why it supports negotiating a deal with Iran on its nuclear program, and told Rivlin, who opposes Palestinian statehood, that Germany believes in a two-state solution.

Gauck said he was certain that despite "differences in the assessment of certain policies" the visit would expand the friendship between the nations.

Ahead of the trip, Rivlin reflected that though he originally protested the opening of diplomatic relations, the friendship has "built steadily over the years."

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