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Germany denies alleged Merkel comment on camps

Brussels, 17.9.2010 13:29, (AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday denied that she had told French President Nicolas Sarkozy her country planned to evacuate its own illegal immigrant camps.

Sarkozy, who has drawn widespread international condemnation for ordering the clearing out some 100 illegal immigrant camps, many inhabited by Gypsies, told reporters after the European Union summit on Thursday that Germany planned similar action.

"Madame Merkel indicated to me her will to proceed in the coming weeks with the evacuation of camps. We will see at that point the calm that reigns in German political life," he said.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the issue did not play any role in the leaders' discussions. He added that the situation of Gypsies, also known as Roma, in Germany cannot be compared with France.

"We do not have camps like that," Seibert said Friday at a regularly scheduled news conference. "It was not a topic."

Seibert said Merkel hadn't talked either at the EU summit or in conversation with Sarkozy in Brussels "about putative Roma camps in Germany, not to mention their being cleared."

Debate over France's Roma explusions dominated the EU summit Thursday.

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