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Chirac invites Schröder to D-Day Commemoration

Chirac invites Schröder to D-Day commemoration in France

President Jacques Chirac has invited Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to attend ceremonies in June commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Allied landing in Normandy.

It was shortly before Christmas when President Chirac extended an invitation to attend the planned D-Day ceremonies on the French North Sea coast according to an announcement made in Paris and Berlin on New Year's Day. Chancellor Schröder was greatly pleased by the invitation and intends to take part in the commemoration in June 2004.

Deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg indicated that this will be of "enormous symbolic significance". He said the invitation is a reflection of the close cooperative relationship that exists with France and of the fact that times have changed. Gerhard Schröder is the first German Chancellor to be invited to a D-Day commemoration.

With their landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944 Allied troops initiated a military campaign that eventually led to the defeat of Hitler Germany and the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny.

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