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Germany

Schröder, Zapatero to Meet Before Summit

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is refusing to step down after inconclusive elections, is to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Madrid next week, his spokesman said on Friday. The planned visit to Madrid appears to disprove claims by the conservatives that they expect Schröder to stand down on Monday after the general election is completed with delayed voting in the eastern city of Dresden. "The chancellor is meeting with Prime Minister Zapatero in Madrid on Wednesday," Bela Anda told a media briefing. The government said the two leaders will discuss bilateral issues as well as international relations and the upcoming European Union summit in Britain. The visit to Spain will be Schröder's second trip abroad since Germany's general election on Sept. 18, which produced a result so close that both he and conservative challenger Angela Merkel claim the right to be chancellor. Schröder has said he will represent Germany at the EU summit on Oct. 27-28.

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