Merkel Tells New Zealanders, ‘You Can Be Proud of Your Prime Minister’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, shakes hands with New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern following a joint press conference on April 17, 2018 at the Chancellery in Berlin.

Photographer: John Macdougall/AFP via Getty Images

Berlin (AP) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has kind words for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, with a little bit of prompting.

Asked Tuesday by Television New Zealand whether she had any advice on coalition governments for Ardern and to assess their first meeting, the four-term chancellor launched into a typically academic answer about the two coalition systems. She ignored the second half of the question.

Puzzled when the reporter pressed for more, Ardern turned to Merkel and explained with a smile: "she wants to know if you found me likable."

Flustered, the normally staid Merkel gushed: "My God, can't you see it was a wonderful meeting? Time flew by. It was highly interesting and it was fun. You can be proud of your prime minister, if you want to write that."

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