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MOSCOW, November 16 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Kremlin on Friday. The two leaders are expected to discuss the most acute problems of today, including escalation of tensions in the Middle East, the situation in Syria, the infringement on Russia’s energy interests in Europe, and democracy in Russia.
The format of today’s meeting between Putin and Merkel has been elaborated in the recent years. First, the Russian president and the German chancellor will sum up the results of the forum Petersburg Dialogue, and later will hold interstate consultations. Both forums, of public figures and politicians, are held every year in Russia and in German in turn. The current Petersburg Dialogue is the 12th such forum, and subsequent consultations between the Russian and German leaders will be the 14th.
By the time of these consultations between the two leaders, the first once after Putin returned to the Kremlin and about half a year before the elections to Germany’s parliament, a number of pressing topics have ripened.
According to Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, the two leaders will exchange views on international problems, such the situation in Syria and the ongoing escalation in the Middle East. Late on Wednesday, Putin spoke over the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Russian president, according to the Kremlin press service, “urged the sides involved (in the conflict) to display restraint and not to follow the path of escalation of violence, the victims of which are also civilians, and to do everything possible to return the situation to normal.”
Peskov also spoke about other problems to be raised at the Putin-Merkel meeting. “There are issues related to the implementation of European legislation that adversely affects our interests,” Peskov told journalists explaining that he was referring to the Third Energy Package. “Moreover, this not only infringes on the interests of businesses from Russia, but also harms the interests of the German partners,” he stressed.
At the same time, Peskov described the state of relations between Russia and Germany in this sphere as “positive interdependence in major international projects.” The RF presidential press secretary also noted that such issues as mutual investments and other business projects will be discussed in a positive way.
According to Peskov, President Putin is ready to answer all questions, including about democracy and human rights in Russia, if they are raised at talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday. The Kremlin, in his words, is well aware of the intensification of anti-Russian rhetoric in Germany and tends to associate it with the beginning election campaigns.
“We are well aware of the intensification of anti-Russian rhetoric in Germany over the past few months,” he said. “We are aware of the wishes or demands addressed to Chancellor Merkel by members of the Bundestag in terms of raising various issues related to human rights and democracy in Russia,” the official said.
“If such questions are raised, then, as always, I have no doubt that Putin will exhaustively explain the points that are not clear to the German side, and, in turn, will put his questions,” Peskov said.
The RF presidential press secretary expressed confidence that Russian-German relations have a good “safety cushion” in the form of real cooperation volume that stand at goods turnover of 87 billion U.S. dollars. “With such a strong foundation you may rest assured that the political will always be keeping up with this volume,” he said.
“Traditionally, there are circles that can hardly be called friends; there are hot heads in all countries,” the official said, adding that they often use distorted information or deliberately distort it. “Russia is ready to patiently explain all the questions, but there are people obsessed with stereotypes with whom it is difficult to communicate and it is unlikely that it will have effect on them,” he said.
Peskov suggested that in light of the pre-election battles that are beginning in Germany, obviously there will be those willing to play the anti-Russian card to their advantage. “We would not want to see Russian-German relations used in this way,” he added.
After the consultations, Putin and Merkel will hold a news conference, according to the Kremlin’s official website.