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Germany, France stress unity on Iran, immigration
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German and French leaders on Monday stressed their unity on a wide range of issues from Iran's nuclear program to the challenges of integrating immigrants.


France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel chat in Berlin for a discussion on 'integration' on Monday Nov. 12, 2007.


Speaking after a joint German-Franco cabinet session in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that Germany and France will support tougher sanctions against Iran if Tehran fails to comply with demands to halt its nuclear program.


"We are on the same wavelength -- no nuclear arms for Iran, sanctions and dialogue," Sarkozy told reporters.


Both Merkel and Sarkozy discussed Iran's nuclear issues with US President George W. Bush during their separate visits to the US over the past week.


Sarkozy also confirmed on Monday that he will meet with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi before the upcoming European Union-African Union summit.


German and French leaders on Monday also agreed to seek quick solutions to the funding problem of the troubled Galileo satellite system designed to rival the American global positioning system GPS.


"Germany and France want to push ahead with this project," Merkel said. "We have agreed that we don't want to put it off. We're deeply convinced that Europe needs this system."


She said that transport ministers from Germany and France will be assigned to make concrete proposals at a meeting with European counterparts this month on how to fund the project.


"We both want it to happen. It's a major strategic target for Europe and we want it to happen as soon as possible," Sarkozy said.


The EU in May nearly doubled the estimated subsidy needed to launch the navigation system from about 2.4 billion euros to 4.5 billion euros. A British parliamentary committee said on Monday that the troubled project should be scrapped unless its sponsors can prove it is economically viable.


Sarkozy, accompanied by Prime Minister Francois Fillon and other members of his cabinet, is visiting Berlin for his first presence as French president at joint cabinet sessions of Germany and France which take place twice a year. The theme of the talks this time is the integration of immigrants.


Before their talks, Sarkozy and Merkel went to visit a French-German school in western Berlin to debate integration.


"The biggest opponent of integration is illegal immigration," Sarkozy said after the school visit." If we do not have the courage to master migratory flows, we will not succeed with integration."


Merkel said on Monday that foreign, interior and justice ministers of the two nations would work on a common approach to manage controlled immigration, including measures to combat illegal immigration.


Germany and France would then be able to take a common position on the issue within the EU, she said.


(Xinhua News Agency November 13, 2007)

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