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BERLIN, May 5. /TASS/. Germany has appointed Ronald Pofalla, Chancellor Angela Merkel's former chief of staff, as the new co-chairman of the Russian-German forum of civil societies St Petersburg Dialogue, according to a press release obtained by TASS on Tuesday.
Pofalla will replace Lothar de Maiziere, East Germany's last prime minister, who has chaired the forum’s German steering committee for nearly ten years, the press release says.
Last year, a number of St. Petersburg Dialogue events were cancelled because of the crisis in Ukraine, while an annual meeting of forum members was postponed indefinitely. Local media reported that the German side was planning to carry out several reforms in the forum’s work, envisaging also changes to its leadership. But the forum continued its work within eight working groups.
Pofalla urged to resume talks between co-chairs, saying it was necessary "together with Russian partners to set a new date for a meeting".
The St. Petersburg Dialogue forum brings together leaders from business, civil society and politics, and is usually attended by the German chancellor and the Russian president.
It was initiated in 2001 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as a platform for prominent Russian and German politicians and public figures to discuss key issues of cooperation between the two states and their civil societies.