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Germany's Merkel working toward spring meeting with Trump: sources

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English address the media at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, January 16, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel is working to set a date this spring for a meeting with Donald Trump, who will be sworn in as U.S. president on Friday, German government sources said on Monday.

Merkel had offered to meet Trump in the United States in her capacity as chairman of the Group of 20 leading economies, the sources said.

The chancellor has spoken with Trump only once, shortly after his election to succeed U.S. President Barack Obama.

In a joint interview published by the Times of London and Germany’s Bild newspaper on Monday, Trump said he had always had “great respect” for Merkel, but described her 2015 decision to allow in a wave of a million migrants as a “catastrophic mistake” that opened the door to terrorist attacks.

Merkel refused to comment on the interview during a news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English, saying she would wait until after Trump’s inauguration and then planned to work with him at all levels of government.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Janet Lawrence