BERLIN, March 22. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were invited to attend this year’s Petersburg Dialogue forum due on July 18-20 in Germany’s Petersberg, a municipality near Bonn, the General-Anzeiger Bonn newspaper reported, citing own sources.
According to the paper, the attendance of the two leaders may serve as a starting point for a new period of Russian-German relations, because Putin and Merkel did not attend the forum’s sessions since Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014.
General-Anzeiger Bonn said that in line with diplomatic procedures, an invitation to state leaders is sent only when the probability of a positive answer is high.
Ronald Pofalla, the German co-chairman of the Petersburg Dialogue, did not confirm the information directly. He told the newspaper in an interview that the event’s organizers expect the attendance of "high-ranking representatives of the German and Russian governments." He added that Putin and Merkel’s participation would demonstrate "the importance of Petersburg Dialogue and its significant role in relations" between Russia and Germany.
General-Anzeiger Bonn also said that on July 18, about 300 participants of the forum will be welcomed by the minister-president of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet.
The Petersburg Dialogue forum was established in 2001 on an initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder with an aim to create a long-term open exchange of opinions between politicians, scientists, businessmen and cultural circles.