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Europe

Deutsche Welle Survey Results: No More than a Handshake

DW-WORLD readers guessed right when they said President George W. Bush and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder would not meet during the G8 summit in Evian. A brief handshake in St. Petersburg was all the two leaders exchanged.

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The last friendly exchange between Bush and Schröder was some time ago (shown here in May 2002).

Despite coming close in St. Petersburg and Evian, U.S. President George W. Bush offered German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder no more than a curt handshake over the weekend, dashing hopes and expectations that the two leaders would meet for private talks and put an end to the chilly air between Washington and Berlin.

The transatlantic rift between the Oval Office and the Kanzleramt, it seems, has come to a stalemate. With neither Bush nor Schröder extending more than a hand for a photo-op, it’s bound to take a good deal more diplomatic leg-work and several inter-continental flights between the countries’ high-ranking officials before the two leaders engage in talks.

Deutsche Welle readers suspected just as much when they responded to last week’s Internet poll. Of the 549 participants, 353 people, or 64.3 percent, said they did not think Bush and Schröder would meet privately in Evian during the G8 summit. Only 196 readers (35.7 percent) were optimistic in thinking the two would overcome differences and meet for a chat.

Both Russian President Vladimir Putin, who retreated with Bush behind close doors for an informal talk during the anniversary celebrations in St. Petersburg, and French President Jacques Chirac, who met with the American leader for a private exchange during the G8 summit, fared better than Schröder. Unlike its anti-war allies France and Russia, Germany is being shunned by the U.S. leader, adding truth to the current rumor spreading in Washington, that the administration aims to "punish France, ignore Germany and forgive Russia."

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