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Putin to meet Merkel at St Petersburg forum, visit Russian-German exhibition

June 21, 2013, 7:17 UTC+3
Both leaders will speak at the plenary session on Friday afternoon
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ST. PETERSBURG, June 21 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, June 21.

Merkel will attend the forum as a guest of honour at Putin’s invitation, the presidential press service said.

Both leaders will speak at the plenary session on Friday afternoon. After that they will have bilateral talks to discuss “pressing issues of cooperation in various areas, priorities of the Russian presidency in the Group of Twenty, and international issues, including Syria,” presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said.

After the talks, Putin and Markel will meet the press.

Later in the day they will board the steamship River Palace for a meeting with Russian and German entrepreneurs to be followed by a joint visit to the Hermitage to open the exhibition “Bronze Age. Europe Without Borders”.

“This project has become reality due to active cooperation between leading museums and research centres of the two countries,” Ushakov said.

Russia and Germany are bound by a close strategic partnership, Putin said earlier.

“We have very similar approaches to a majority of global and European problems,” he said, adding that Russia and Germany maintain “intensive relations in the cultural and humanitarian fields.”

“Our economies supplement each other,” Putin continued, noting that they “are geared to new capital investments and industrial cooperation in high-tech and science-intensive sectors.”

“Energy cooperation is evolving: Russia meets up to 40 percent of Germany’s demand for natural gas and up to 30 percent of its demand for oil. We are implementing large-scale infrastructure projects together such as Nord Stream. Following the commissioning of its second string on October 8, we can supply up to 55 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe annually,” Putin said.

Putin, who worked in Germany for several years, knows many of the CEOs of German companies personally. “We meet often to discuss prospects for Russian-German and Russian-European relations and concrete business projects,” he said.

“You stick to pragmatic views, free from illusions and prejudices. You assess modern Russia objectively and are well aware of our unused possibilities and reserves,” the president said, speaking to the members of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations.

He expressed confidence that Russia and Germany can successfully expand multifaceted commercial, investment and technological ties for the benefit of their peoples, Europe and the world on the basis of mutual trust and common goals and interests.

Germany is a leading economic partner of Russia. Last year, bilateral trade turnover reached a record high level of 73.9 billion U.S. dollars. There are about 6,000 companies with German capital operating in the Russian market. Russian investments in Germany are also growing.

The years of 2012 and 2013 are crossover years of Russia and Germany, during which more than 300 different business forums, exhibitions and festivals have been organised.

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