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Berlin, Moscow seek to bolster city partnership, says mayor

March 13, 2017, 19:29 UTC+3 BERLIN

Focusing on economic relations of the two capital cities, the Berlin mayor said sanctions slapped on Russia over Ukraine "harm both sides"

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BERLIN, March 13. /TASS/. Moscow and Berlin seek to give a boost to partnership, which could additionally win from the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions once the Minsk agreements are implemented, Berlin Mayor Michael Muller told TASS prior to heading for Moscow on Monday.

The Berlin mayor said his talks with Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin will focus on cultural cooperation, academic exchanges as well as transport and city planning. "The signing of a memorandum that is expected to give a new boost to partnership relations of Berlin and Moscow is a major point," on the agenda, the Berlin mayor said.

He said the cities were also eying a project aimed to support startups and socially-owned enterprises in Moscow and Berlin. Michael Muller is planning to also meet in Moscow with representatives of the civil society and non-commercial organizations.

Focusing on economic relations of the two capital cities, the Berlin mayor said sanctions slapped on Russia over Ukraine "harm both sides". "Their lifting is in the interests of both Berlin and Moscow, but for this certain terms must be met, namely the Minsk agreements," the mayor said.

The Berlin mayor also marked a growing flow of Russian tourists to Berlin that had thinned at a certain point. "After a certain decline, the number of Russian tourists visiting Berlin is growing once again, which is gladdening," he said.

He believes the authorities of the two cities should also share experience in fight against terrorism. "After a terror attack at a market, Berlin approved a package of measures aimed at protecting the citizens," Michael Muller said.

"It is necessary to improve the situation with security, maintaining at the same time the freedom of an open and democratic society," he said.

Transport problems

The Berlin mayor faced transport problems ahead of his visit to Moscow when all flights from the German capital city were cancelled amid a strike at Berlin airports, and he had to head for Dresden to fly to Moscow. "Because of the strike, he will have to fly from Dresden," the mayor’s office told TASS, specifying that his flight was scheduled for 14:30 Moscow time, later than scheduled.

The Berlin mayor will stay in Moscow until Wednesday, while the strike at Tegel and Shoenefeld airports is to end on Wednesday morning. So, if the trade unions don’t extend it, the Berlin mayor won’t have problems with getting back home.

Berlin terror attack

Late on December 19 a truck rammed into a crowd of Christmas shoppers at a fair in downtown West Berlin, on Breitscheidplatz near Kurfurstendamm Street. The truck steamrolled on for another 80 meters deeper into the market’s territory. As a result, twelve people were killed and 48, some in critical condition, were taken to hospital.

The Islamic State group (terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

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