French president Jacques Chirac calls French-German alliance 'engine' of EU construction

President Jacques Chirac told German counterpart Horst Koehler on Wednesday that their countries' alliance would remain the engine of EU construction, a French presidential spokesman said.

Chirac said he expected Germany to modernize - no matter who prevailed in the leadership struggle between conservative leader Angela Merkel and Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to run the country's government.

Chirac said he was "convinced that Germany _ engaged on the path of modernization _ would continue on this track," spokesman Jerome Bonnafont said. Before the meeting, French officials said Germany's effort to form a new government would be on the agenda, the Ap reports.

The two presidents did not speak to reporters after the hourlong meeting. Koehler planned also to address a UNESCO meeting celebrating the U.N. body's 60th anniversary. AM

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