MOSCOW, August 19. /TASS/. Berlin is interested in Moscow’s initiative concerning the return of Syrian refugees to their home country, it was a focus of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice President of the Center for Political Technologies Alexey Makarkin told TASS on Sunday.
"The German chancellor, who recently had difficulties in overcoming a domestic political crisis over the migrant issue, showed interest in the Russian initiative concerning the return of Syrian refugees and I think that the two leaders thoroughly discussed it," he said. However, in Makarkin’s view, all refugees, particularly those who have already settled down in Europe, are unlikely to be willing to return to Syria. "But I think that this initiative will help members of the Syrian middle class return home, as they fled from the country for fear that Bashar al-Assad’s government may fall," the analyst added.
Head of the Center for German Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Europe Vladislav Belov, in turn, said that it was too early to speak about what Putin and Merkel had discussed at their Saturday talks. "We only know what [Russian Presidential Spokesman] Dmitry Peskov said, as the leaders chose not to make any statements after the meeting and I think there must be reasons for that," the expert told TASS. "My main conclusion is that the meeting was constructive, some agreements were reached but it is unclear what decisions the two leaders made," he said.
Belov pointed out that three weeks before meeting with Putin, the German chancellor had received Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chief of the General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov. According to media reports, the meeting’s participants discussed the Ukrainian conflict and the Syria issue, including the return of refugees, so it would be only natural for Putin and Merkel to touch upon it, the expert noted. In his opinion, the Russian president and German chancellor deliberately decided not to address the media after their meeting "in order not to give Russian and western reporters a chance to misinterpret some specific things."
He also pointed out that the media had paid a lot of attention to Putin’s private visit to Austria, where he attended the weeding of the country’s Foreign Minister Kneissl and businessman Wolfgang Meilinger. "While reporters were discussing his dance with the bride, Putin and Merkel had an opportunity to hold closed-door talks," Belov concluded.