World Bulletin / News Desk
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday ahead of a key European summit, his office said on Saturday, as the two leaders try to square their differing positions on the euro zone debt crisis.
"They will discuss the upcoming EU summit, the international situation and future Franco-German exchanges," the president's office said in a statement.
A spokesman for the German government told Reuters earlier on Saturday the meeting would take place.
The meeting comes on the eve of a summit that is being seen as a big moment for the embattled 17-nation euro zone which is struggling to formulate a credible response to a debt crisis that has shaken Greece and steeply pushed up borrowing costs for Spain and Italy.
The summit is meant to sketch out a roadmap towards economic union and to send a message to the markets that the continent's leaders are united and determined to do whatever it takes to restore confidence in the battered single currency.
But the pre-summit mood music has not been good.
A meeting in Rome on Friday saw Merkel and Hollande openly sparring over what needed to be done, with the French president and his Italian and Spanish counterparts failing to get Merkel to dilute her opposition to common euro zone bonds.
At the mini-summit, Merkel also resisted pressure to use Europe's rescue funds more flexibly, but did agree to a 130- billion-euro ($156 billion) package to revive growth.
However, Hollande made it clear he was impatient with Berlin's reluctance to go further, saying it should not take 10 years to create jointly underwritten euro bonds.
He wants the June 28-29 summit to agree on more than just a growth package before he is ready to ratify the bloc's fiscal pact, a French diplomatic source said on Friday.
Hollande also wants an EU-wide agreement on progress towards banking sector integration and other financial stability measures, the source said.
With the markets uneasy about the failure of the continent's leaders to put on a united front, Merkel and Hollande are likely to use Wednesday's meeting to try to narrow their differences in order to minimise the risk of another public split.
Nicolas Sarkozy, Hollande's predecessor, had a history of stitching up agendas and agreements with Merkel before such summits, but the socialist president and the German chancellor have so far not been able or willing to do the same.
Hollande is due to meet the head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi and France's Central Bank Governor Christian Noyer on Monday.
Air France, the French network of Air France-KLM said on Wednesday it has suspended its flights to Sierra Leone following advice from the French government
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said that Kiev knew of plans by Russia to halt gas flows this winter to Europe
The inquiry into tycoon Bernard Tapie has embroiled several of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet members including Lagarde.
The riot broke out in the southern industrial hub of Johor state on Tuesday at a factory run by JCY International , a Malaysian firm that makes parts for electronic giants including Samsung, Hitachi and Western Digital.
Hawaii and U.S. territories have strong dependency on petroleum imports, because of their physical isolation and lack of fossil fuel resources, while their residential electricity prices have been three to five times the average residential prices of the mainland U.S.
Buyers of Kurdish crude could face lawsuits from Baghdad if the oil moves close to U.S. soil and would also require the seller to provide costly indemnities against potential lawsuits
Deep job losses, route cuts and a change of leadership are expected to feature in a restructuring plan being prepared by Malaysia's government
New company will create the third largest global fast-food chain with annual sales of US$23 billion.
Once the international language of royal courts and diplomacy, French has lost ground to English in recent decades
With Russian and Libyan imports at risk, Algeria has become key in safeguarding supplies.
Clashes over economic policy also forced a government reshuffle in France this week as a political battle raged in Europe over whether belt-tightening had gone too far at the expense of economic growth.
The most recent polls show the four-party centre-right coalition government trailing the centre-left opposition by more than 10 points.
The Iranian section of the 97km long pipeline completed
Gamal Qumwa, the chairperson of the energy committee in the Jordanian parliament, said that the preliminary agreement includes supplying Jordan with 150 cubic feet of natural gas from Gaza's field.
The 5,000-member force launched on Friday will be part of the federal police and focus on guarding agriculture, mining, and oil and gas production against criminal groups.
As a candidate for membership of the EU, Serbia is under pressure to bring its foreign policy into line with that of the 28-member EU