Angela Merkel has declared her "full confidence" in embattled Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who has been accused of plagiarizing parts of his 2006 doctoral thesis, Berlin sources said Friday, DPA reported.
Guttenberg met with Merkel late Thursday night at her office after returning from a visit to German troops in Afghanistan.
Officials who declined to be named said her backing was the outcome of that meeting, but they gave no indication whether Merkel had pressed Guttenberg to make a full public apology.
News organizations have found dozens of passages in the 475-page thesis about constitutional law that feature no footnotes to say that they are word-for-word quotes from work by other scholars and journalists.
The University of Bayreuth, which awarded the doctorate in law, has given the popular, 39-year-old minister two weeks to explain.
The university has the power to revoke a degree. Opposition politicians say Guttenberg must resign if this happens.