Sarkozy 'misunderstood' Merkel on Roma: German FM
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's claim that Chancellor Angela Merkel had told him Germany plans to clear Roma camps is a "misunderstanding," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Friday.
"The chancellor has ... informed me about what was said in her talks (with Sarkozy)," Westerwelle told Deutschlandfunk radio.
"There was no such announcement by the chancellor. It would run contrary to the German constitution. I suspect that this was all a misunderstanding."
Sarkozy had made the claim after talks on Thursday with Merkel at a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels. Her spokesman swiftly issued a firm rebuttal.
"Chancellor Merkel never spoke of so-called Roma camps in Germany, neither during the summit nor on the margins with the French president -- and in no case would she have spoken of evacuations," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.
Merkel had initially offered support for Sarkozy, describing a parallel made by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding of the deportation of Roma from France with the Holocaust as "unfortunate."
Westerwelle slammed Reding's comments as "absolutely unacceptable."
"To tar France with the same brush as the horrific events of World War II is absolutely unacceptable, hurtful and probably led to the French president's angry reaction," he said.
© 2010 AFP