MOSCOW, July 26. /TASS/. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, as far as Kremlin knows, is indeed in Moscow; his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is not on his schedule so far, but contacts are not excluded, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
"As far as we know, he [Schroeder] is indeed in Moscow. Meeting [with Russian President Vladimir Putin] is not on the schedule, but we do not rule out contacts," he said, answering corresponding questions from TASS.
The Kremlin spokesman said that now Putin and Schroeder are in "less active contact" that when the latter was German Chancellor (he was in office from 1998 to 2005).
Earlier on Tuesday, the German edition Der Spiegel reported that Schroeder is currently "on vacation" in Moscow. He last visited the Russian capital in March to hold talks with Putin on the situation around Ukraine.
In Germany, Schroeder was sharply criticized for close ties with Russia. Earlier, the budget committee of Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, approved a bid by ruling parties to strip the ex-Chancellor of some of the privileges, which according to the law, are funded by taxpayers. Now the Schroeder Bureau will no longer be financed from the budget and salaries to his staff will no longer be paid. However, the ex-Chancellor’s will continue to receive his monthly pension, which former heads of government receive. His right to personal guard is also preserved.
In his interview with The New York Times published earlier, Schroeder stressed that the long-term political and economic isolation of Russia is impossible, and said that the EU’s prosperity, including Germany’s, will always depend on supplies of Russian raw materials. At the end of May, the former German Chancellor rejected his nomination to Gazprom board of directors.