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Hollande misses Obama's address

May 21, 2012 at 1:34 PM
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CHICAGO, May 21 (UPI) -- Newly inaugurated French President Francois Hollande missed U.S. President Obama's speech Monday at the Chicago NATO session on Afghanistan.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Hollande was late because he was meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Hollande, who has made clear he intends to keep his promise to France that French combat troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, arrived after Obama's speech on NATO's plans for Afghanistan.

A media observer said Hollande spoke briefly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after taking his seat. The two leaders shared a smile, the observer said.

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