Paris to mark Merkel's first foreign stop

17th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

BERLIN, Nov 16 (AFP) - Incoming German chancellor Angela Merkel will make Paris her first foreign destination as leader the day after she is voted into office next week, a newspaper reported Thursday.

BERLIN, Nov 16 (AFP) - Incoming German chancellor Angela Merkel will make Paris her first foreign destination as leader the day after she is voted into office next week, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The conservative daily Die Welt said in an advance extract of its Thursday edition that Merkel would have lunch Wednesday with French president Jacques Chirac and have talks with prime minister Dominique de Villepin.

Merkel's party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union, said it could not confirm the report.

Merkel is on the same side of the political spectrum as Chirac although she will lead a power-sharing government of the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats of outgoing chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, is to go through the formality of voting her in as chancellor on Tuesday, more than two months after the inconclusive general election.

Incoming roreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said the new Berlin government will maintain the Franco-German relationship, often described as a motor of the European Union.

Die Welt said Merkel was also hoping to visit Germany's eastern neighbour Poland as part of the same trip, but that had yet to be decided because it was feared she would not have enough time to meet President Aleksander Kwasniewski, his designated successor Lech Kaczynski and the newly elected Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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