Sarkozy reported to demand choice seat at NATO summit
French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to stay away from celebrations of 60 years of NATO unless he was given a choice seat at the conference table, the German news weekly Der Spiegel reported Saturday.
It said Sarkozy objected to seating in alphabetical order of the member country's names and insisted that he must sit next to NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer during the meeting in early April in Strasbourg, France and in nearby German towns, dpa reported.
Germany and France are jointly hosting the summit, with the city of Baden-Baden and Strasbourg's German suburb of Kehl set as the venue for part of the programme. Spiegel said Sarkozy's stance was conveyed by French officials to NATO in Brussels.
It said that under a compromise, Sarkozy would sit at the Dutch secretary general's right hand whenever TV cameras were in the room, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would sit at de Hoop Scheffer's left.
Behind closed doors, the 26 national leaders would switch chairs and all sit in accustomed alphabetical order, the magazine said. dpa jbp ds