Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) — German ChancellorAngela Merkel
marked Armistice Day alongside French PresidentNicolas Sarkozy
at Paris’s Arc de Triomphe in a ceremony that both leaders said
underlined their two countries’ reconciliation.
In the first appearance by a German leader at the ceremony
held at the time of Germany’s First World War surrender on Nov.
11, 1918, Merkel noted that today’s event followed by two days
the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the
Berlin Wall and the end of the division of Europe.
“It’s based on our friendship that we will be able to
deepen our partnership in Europe and on both sides of the
Atlantic,” Merkel said in a nine-minute speech. “It’s together
that we will get to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.”
France invited Merkel to the 91st anniversary of the end of
hostilities in 1918 “to honor the memory of the combatants and
to celebrate peace,” Sarkozy’s office said in astatement.
The chancellor’s presence was “a strong symbol of Franco-
German reconciliation in the service of European construction,”
the Elysee Palace said.
The visit by Merkel follows other efforts by France to
involve German leaders in ceremonies that were once restricted
to the allied victors of the 20th century’s two world wars.