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Europe

Merkel, Sarkozy say Roma row was a misunderstanding

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have drawn a line under a row over Roma deportations. Officials say the two met for informal discussions while at United Nations talks in New York.

Merkel and Sarkozy embracing, smiling

The sideline talk healed any tension between the two

Following a meeting on the sidelines of the UN Millennium summit in New York, the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had cleared up a misunderstanding over the issue of France's Roma deportations.

Officials said Merkel and Sarkozy had both been "surprised by the trivial and baseless media controversy," adding that the two leaders spent a minute discussing the topic during conversations on the sidelines in New York, and another 20 minutes on Franco-German cooperation.

Sarkozy had said last week that Merkel told him she, like him, was planning to clear illegal Roma settlements. However the German government strongly denied she had made such a statement. There are no reported camps of Roma immigrants in Germany.

The French president made the comment at an EU summit in Brussels as he came under fire for France's deportation of more than 8,300 Romanians and Bulgarians, most of them Roma.

Both leaders are attending the UN General Assembly's special session on the Millennium Development Goals in New York.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (dpa/AFP)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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