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France and Germany mark reconciliation at Verdun

President Francois Mitterrand and Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Saturday marked the giant strides their two countries have taken together since World War II with a commemorative meeting at Verdun, paying respects to the 700,000 French and German soldiers who lost their lives in a 10-month battle here in World War I.

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Franco-German links today are so strong that some French commentators have questioned the need for the Verdun ceremony. It is generally viewed in France as improvised to soothe feelings after Kohl was left out of the 40th-anniversary celebrations of the D-Day Normandy landings.