PARIS, Nov. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- French President Jacques Chirac congratulated Tuesday Angela Merkel on being elected German chancellor by parliament, voicing hope that the two countries worktogether to give "new impetus" to the European Union (EU).
Chirac expressed his "sincerest and warmest congratulations" to Merkel, 51, who will be the first woman to lead Germany and the German coalition government.
"I welcome the depth and the solidity of the links uniting France and Germany and I am conscious of your desire to contribute to an even closer rapprochement of our two countries," Chirac saidin a letter addressed to Merkel and released by his office.
He said that French-German cooperation, which is "exemplary", is a "major contribution to the European integration, in the service of a Europe that is political, respectful of workers, competitive and united."
"Our two countries should work together to give a new impetus back to the European Union and continue our common efforts in favor of a world more just and more safe," he added.
Merkel is to kick off Wednesday her first official visit abroad, first to Paris before going to Brussels and then to London. Enditem กก