Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has met US President George W. Bush during a visit to Washington on Thursday. The two men talked for 35 minutes, discussing the upcoming German elections in which Kohl's party colleague, Angela Merkel, has high chances of becoming chancellor. According to news reports, Bush expressed his surprise about German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's decision to provoke early elections after his Social Democratic Party (SPD) failed to win key state elections last Sunday. Kohl, who also met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said he would actively engage in the election campaign. During a speech in Chicago on Monday, Kohl had said he expected transatlantic relations to "shine again" in case of a conservative victory in the elections.