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MOSCOW, April 5 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin is prepared to tell German Chancellor Angela Merkel about NGO inspections by the Prosecutor General’s Office if such a question comes, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said ahead of Putin’s visit to Germany.
“I do not know how tough the exchange of opinions will be [at the talks with Merkel in Hanover on April 7], but the background is well known. Clearly, the issue of NGOs will definitely be raised,” he said.
“Putin will answer [it] appropriately,” the aide added.
Concerned about mass inspections of NGOs in Russia by law enforcement agencies, Merkel intends to discuss this issue with Putin who will arrive in Germany on April 7 on a working visit, Deputy Government Spokesman Georg Streiter said on April 3.
He believes that the two leaders should not try to avoid discussing such issues.
Last week, the German Foreign Ministry voiced concern about mass police inspections of NGOs in Russia, including of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, whose office in St. Petersburg was visited by prosecutors who seized computers, saying they had to check their software licenses.
Putin said that the inspections aimed at verifying the legality of NGOs’ activities in Russia. He also asked Ombudsman Valdimir Lukin to watch the situation to avoid abuses.
The president stressed that NGOs “have to bring their operations in line with Russian laws.”
He noted that such inspections are routine. “This is a routine event connected with the wish of law enforcement agencies to bring the activity of organisations in line with law,” Putin said.
Putin and Merkel will attend the opening ceremony at the Hanover Industrial Fair on Sunday, April 7. On the next day, Putin will visit some of its pavilions.
This year, Russia will attend the Hanover Industrial Fair as the main partner country.
Russia will be the main partner country at Hannover Messe and Germany, in turn, will attend the Petersburg Economic Forum in June as a guest of honour.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Georgy Kalamanov said Russia would be a partner country of Hannover Messe for the second time. It first enjoyed this status in 2005. More than 100 Russian companies will present their products at the fair to be held in April 8-12.
Russia will present a new area of cooperation with Germany - joint development of the light industry as well as development of machine-tool building through partnership in metallurgy.
“We also plan to present at the Hanover Fair cooperation in the field of urban development, ‘green’ industry and industrial design,” Kalamanov said.
Every year up to 100 official delegations come to the Fair. The status of partner country will allow Russia to set up a large exhibition at the Fair in six pavilions on an area of about 4,500 square metres. The organisers say this is an all-times record of Russia’s participation in the history of industrial exhibitions.
The Hannover Messe (Hanover Fair in English) is the world’s biggest industrial fair. It is held on the Hanover fairground in Hanover, Germany. Typically, there are about 6,000 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors.
The Hannover Messe started in 1947 in an undamaged factory building in Laatzen, south of Hanover, by an arrangement of the British military government in order to boost the economic advancement of post-war Germany.