Merkel arrives in Paris for talks with Jacques Chirac

23rd January 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 January 2006, VERSAILLES - German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Paris Monday for talks with French President Jacques Chirac in the former royal palace at Versailles, just outside the French capital.

23 January 2006

VERSAILLES - German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Paris Monday for talks with French President Jacques Chirac in the former royal palace at Versailles, just outside the French capital.

The talks, the 25th of the so-called informal Blaesheim bilateral summit meetings, are expected to focus on Europe and the crisis over Iran's resumption of its uranium enrichment programme.

Chirac's office has said that the two leaders will devote special attention to two upcoming EU summits held under the Austrian presidency, the economic and social summit in March and one later in the year on EU enlargement and the EU constitutional treaty.

The meeting between Chirac and Merkel, the second since she took office in November, comes at a time when the traditionally intimate relationship between Paris and Berlin appears to be fraying.

One reason is a disagreement over the future of the EU constitution, which France rejected in a referendum but Germany approved in a parliamentary vote.

In addition, Merkel has resisted repeated French pleas to agree to a lowering of the European restaurant VAT from 19.6 to 5.5 per cent.

Before the two leaders sit down for their talks, they will open an exhibition in the Versailles chateau of some 300 18th century artworks from the court at Dresden.

DPA

Subject: German news

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