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Merkel visits Cameron for informal talks on EU, Syria

The British premier and German chancellor have discussed war in Syria, counterterrorism efforts and the European Union. They met for discussions at the Chequers country house north of London.

David Cameron met Angela Merkel for a working dinner at the prime minister's Chequers residence north of London on Friday. Traditionally, British prime ministers invite foreign leaders to the Buckinghamshire estate for conversations out of the public eye.

Cameron, who turned 49 on Friday, was also expected to discuss Great Britain's future in the EU, specifically the referendum on Britain leaving the European Union scheduled to take place before the end of the current parliamentary term in 2017.

Merkel has repeatedly called for the UK to stay in the EU and the German chancellor had been expected to ask Cameron to map out his position on the issue.

'Best of both worlds'

The British prime minister is currently on a diplomatic drive to renegotiate UK membership in the 28-member bloc.

Cameron has stated he plans to

campaign for Britain

to stay in the EU, but could not "guarantee" success if his push for changes failed.

"If I can't get the things that Britain needs, then I don't rule anything out in terms of the role that I would play because we do need these changes," he said earlier this week.

The

conservative prime minister

also said he aims to secure "the best of both worlds" for Britain by continuing to "do things our way" within a reformed EU.

The UK government is seeking reforms in the areas of competitiveness, sovereignty, social security and economic governance.

Government critics have accused Cameron of being too vague when speaking on the results he hopes to achieve.

Merkel and Cameron are also expected to discuss the EU refugee crisis, with critics of Merkel's open door policy growing bolder both in and out of Germany.

dj/sms (AFP, dpa)

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