BERLIN, July 13. /TASS/. Syrian settlement, the implementation of the Minsk agreements, anti-terrorism efforts and relations between Russia and Germany will be in focus of talks between Russian and German Foreign Ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Sigmar Gabriel in Berlin.
The two ministers will also take part in the closing ceremony of the Year of Youth Exchanges.
It will be Lavrov’s and Gabriel’s second meeting this summer. Last time they met on June 28 in Russia’s Kaliningrad where they took part in the 14th conference of Russian and German twin cities.
According to the Russian foreign ministry, the two top diplomats will continues to exchange views on the key international problems, "including the implementation of the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and the progress of peace process in Syria, as well as on issues of European security and fight against international terrorism." "The minister will discuss the results of the Group of Twenty summit that took place in Hamburg on July 7-8, the current situation in the Russian-German relations and practical aspects of the bilateral agenda," the ministry said.
The Russian-German Year of Youth Exchanges was held under the agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The opening ceremony was held in Moscow on June 9, 2016. More than 200 events were organized within the framework of the Year, the Russian foreign ministry noted.
Now, the two countries launch a new joint project - the Year of Regional and Municipal Partnerships in 2017-2018. The initiative was announced by the two countries; foreign ministers in Kaliningrad on June 28.
"The implementation of this large-scale interstate projects will help promote a rich agenda in the Russian-German relations," the ministry stressed. "Possibilities for all Russian regions and German federal states to take part in the events of the Year will be a major factor of development of comprehensive cooperation on the ground." The Year’s priority topics will be inter-municipal cooperation, exchange of experience in the house and utilities sector, in the areas of architecture and construction, culture, educations, sport, tourism, youth exchanges and civil society contacts.
According to official statistics of the Russian Customs Service, Russian-German trade in 2016 stood at 40.7 billion U.S. dollars, or by 11.1% down on the previous year. However in the first four months of the current year trade went up by 28.8% on the same period last year and reached 15.4 billion U.S. dollars.
Germany is one of Russia’s biggest foreign trade partners. "Germany accounts for nine percent in Russia’s foreign trade and is second only to China (14.3%)," the Russian foreign ministry noted. "Germany’s aggregate cumulative investment, according to the Bank of Russia, exceeds 16 billion U.S. dollars."
About 5,600 companies with German capital are operating on the Russian market and about 1,500 companies with Russian capital are present on the German market.
The Russian foreign ministry praised bilateral cooperation in the sphere of historical research, with the commission on the study of the contemporary history of Russian-German relations working productively.
"As many as 3,310 Soviet military cemeteries, with the burials of 760,000 Russian/Soviet citizens, are located in Germany. The German side takes care of the Soviet military cemeteries in line with the relevant intergovernmental agreement of December 16, 1992," the ministry said.
Since 2000, the Russian side, jointly with the German Saxon Memorial Foundation and with the support from the two countries’ foreign ministries, has been implementing a project on identification of Soviet and German prisoners of war and interned persons. "Over this period, personal data of about one million Soviet citizens and 1.5 million Germans have been found in cooperation with Russian, German and Belarusian archives," the Russian foreign ministry noted.