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Merkel likely to visit Paris and Brussels on first foreign trip

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Berlin (dpa) - Designated German chancellor Angela Merkel will likely visit Paris and the European Union's headquarters in Brussels on her first foreign trip after being sworn in next week, officials said Thursday.

Merkel's meeting with French President Jacques Chirac continues a long-held German tradition of chancellors making their first trip to Paris after coming to power.

But the E.U. visit for talks with the European Commission is a new accent and apparently reflects the influence of her chancellery foreign policy adviser, Christoph Heusgen, who from 1999 to 2005 was chief-of-staff to E.U. top diplomat Javier Solana.

Heusgen has said in past days that he is determined to boost Germany's role in the E.U.

Merkel is due to be formally elected by parliament on Tuesday and and will be sworn in immediately afterwards with her entire cabinet.

Her plan is to travel to Paris and Brussels on Wednesday November 23, officials said.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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