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Sarkozy, Merkel Feud Over Roma Remarks

Germany has flatly denied a claim by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that German officials had told him they were also preparing to expel Roma.

The French president told reporters at an EU summit in Brussels on September 16 that Chancellor Angela Merkel had told him she was planning to clear illegal Romany settlements in Germany, just as he and his government were doing in France.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Merkel never even mentioned "supposed" Romany camps in Germany.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told German public radio that Berlin certainly was not planning to round up and expel Roma.

Sarkozy was speaking after angry criticism from other EU member states during the summit of France's program to send hundreds of Roma back to Bulgaria and Romania.

compiled from agency reports