Germany's Merkel downplays arguments in new government

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is downplaying arguments in her new governing coalition, but tells ministers there's plenty of work to do and "not much time for other things."

Merkel was sworn in for a fourth term last month following lengthy and difficult talks to form a government. Its start has been marked by arguments over comments by some ministers on issues including Islam and domestic security.

Merkel said Wednesday after a two-day Cabinet retreat outside Berlin that it's normal for discussions about planned legislation to be conducted in public, "but it was clear to see here that everyone wants successful results to these discussions."

She added: "Everyone has enough work. That doesn't leave much time for other things."

Undisguised internal friction has been a frequent feature of Merkel's past governments.

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