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Blair, Schroeder to have talks

9 February 2004

BERLIN – German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and British Prime Minister Tony Blair will have talks in Berlin later this week, a government spokesman said Monday.

Main issues at the meeting Thursday will be the upcoming European Union summit to be held 25 to 26 March in Brussels, as well as the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Mideast, said the spokesman.

EU leaders failed to agree a new constitution at the bloc’s summit in December and since then Union heavyweights Berlin, Paris and London have sought to bolster cooperation.

Some analysts say Schroeder is eager for closer ties with Blair to balance out deeper links forged with France after Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac both opposed the Iraq war.

Schroeder, Blair and Chirac are due to hold a summit in Berlin on 18 February.

Chirac held talks Monday with Schroeder in Berlin.

Subject: German news