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German Leaders Call for Greater Efforts to Rebuild Former East Germany - 2004-10-03

German leaders have celebrated the 14th anniversary of the nation's reunification with calls for greater efforts to rebuild former communist east Germany.

In a speech Sunday, in the eastern city Erfurt, German President Horst Koehler expressed confidence that if Germans work together they will surmount what he called a "mountain of challenges" in the eastern part of the country.

Mr. Koehler also urged Germans to accept the government's economic reforms which will entail painful social welfare cuts.

The reforms, which include reductions in unemployment benefits, have generated widespread protests.

Many east Germans are bitter that reunification has failed to bring the prosperity anticipated after the collapse of communism.