Merkel aide says French Socialists' criticisms won't hurt ties

BERLIN Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:14am BST

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and President of France Francois Hollande exchange glances during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at City Hall in Oslo December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and President of France Francois Hollande exchange glances during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at City Hall in Oslo December 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Angela Merkel's spokesman said on Monday criticism of the German chancellor by French President Francois Hollande's Socialists was not a reflection of the cooperation between the two governments.

"What counts for us is not the parties but working with governments such as the direct cooperation with the French president, prime minister Ayrault and the ministers," Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference.

"We consider German-French cooperation essential," he said, citing French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's attempt at the weekend to tone down the criticism contained in a Socialist party document that called the German leader "self-centred".

(Reporting by Stephen Brown and Gernot Heller)

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