Cossacks and flowers as Putin dances at Austrian minister's wedding

19 August, 2018, 22:45 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Angela Merkel at a refugee camp in Berlin. The row over immigration almost tore the government apart this summer

Berlin is interested in Moscow's initiative concerning the return of Syrian refugees to their home country, it was a focus of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice President of the Center for Political Technologies Alexey Makarkin told TASS on Sunday. Putin is expected to return to Moscow Saturday evening.

Standing beside Putin, Merkel said both countries - but especially Russian Federation as a permanent member of the UN Security Council - had a responsibility to tackle these problems.

Putin arrived in Germany on Saturday evening after a stop at an Austrian vineyard to attend Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl's wedding to entrepreneur Wolfgang Meilinger.

Putin later met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Mesberg, near Berlin.

Merkel said this will be a working meeting and called not to expect much from the talks.

Putin told reporters that such a move had to make sense from a business perspective.

For all their differences, Merkel and Putin agreed that they want to preserve the nuclear accord with Iran after Trump withdrew US support for the deal.

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The two sides have sparred in recent years over Russia's annexation of Crimea, its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as he executes a brutal military campaign, over charges that Moscow interfered in the last USA presidential election, and, most recently, over British allegations that the Kremlin tried to kill former spy Sergei Skripal, who now lives in the UK.

Putin also agreed co-ordinated steps with Trump at their Helsinki summit last month to try to stabilise the situation.

The United States is pressing Germany to halt work on the pipeline, arguing that it will increase Germany's dependence on Russian Federation for energy.

"I would like to stress that the main thing is that the Ukrainian transit - which is traditional for us - meets economic demands", Putin said, adding that Nord Stream 2 was exclusively an economic project.

Shortly after, the Federal Chancellor and the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, held talks in Berlin with a Russian delegation, led by that nation's diplomatic head, Sergey Lavrov.

Yet the foreign ministry insisted that Putin's visit "will not change anything in terms of Austria's foreign policy positions". "It was a private visit". Merkel and Putin agreed to take steps to protect the project, Peskov said. But she was appointed to her job by the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), which is openly supportive of Russia and has formal links with Putin's United Russia party.

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