Israeli President Reuven Rivlin received an official welcome to Germany on Monday, beginning a three-day state visit to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The visit starts three days after the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany in World War II and the end of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed and which led to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

German President Joachim Gauck provided a red-carpet welcome with a military guard of honour and band before the two men walked in a close embrace inside Bellevue Palace, Gauck?s official residence.

Later Rivlin was to lay a wreath at the Platform 17 Memorial on Berlin?s western outskirts, where tens of thousands of Jews were deported by rail to concentration camps during Nazi rule.

Both presidents were to visit a German-Israeli youth congress Monday afternoon.

Rivlin will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday. Their talks are to centre on the new right-wing coalition government formed last week in Israel and the future of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

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