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BERLIN, January 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Germany “does not share the position” of those calling for a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Germany’s new coordinator for German-Russian Intersocietal Co-operation, Gernot Erler, said at a meeting with correspondents accredited in Berlin on Thursday.
“We send a delegation of athletes and a delegation of sports functionaries to Sochi,” he said, adding that Germany would also be represented by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, responsible for the issues of sport policy.
Erler said “the question who will go to Sochi from Germany is not a political one” and “there were no political functions assigned to this decision”.
He recognized that “many countries have decided on a more impressive presence” at the Olympics. Thus, there will be more prime ministers in Sochi than at the previous Olympic Games in Vancouver.
Gernot Erler was appointed as a new Coordinator for German-Russian Intersocietal Co-operation at the beginning of January, replacing Andreas Schockenhoff, Germany's coordinator for Russian politics known for his critical position towards Russia’s authorities. Schockenhoff was one of the initiators of a tough resolution on the situation in Russia, passed in the German Bundestag earlier.
Erler, 69, urges closer co-operation with Russia. From 2005 to 2009 he served as the Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office and already then was Germany's coordinator for social ties with Russia.