BERLIN, July 22. /TASS/. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she would advise her successor, as the head of government, to maintain dialogue with Russia but take into account Germany’s values and interests.
"We always conduct negotiations with any country based on our values and interests. I believe that we should always be interested in maintaining dialogue with Russia," she told reporters at a news conference in Berlin on Thursday.
She voiced regret over alleged restrictions in the work of NGOs in Russia, which, in her words, "make contacts between civil societies more difficult." "In my view, this is a serious blow to German-Russian relations," she noted. "However, I will not refuse to talk with the Russian president because of that," Merkel said, stressing that difficult situations in relations between the two countries arise, specifically, Germany and Russia disagree on Ukraine.
"In spite of that, [we need] to maintain dialogue and try to find solutions," Merkel advised her successor as chancellor.
On September 26, parliamentary elections will be held in Germany, following which a new government headed by a new chancellor will be formed. Merkel said she would not seek re-election and announced plans to retire from politics.
Armin Laschet is the candidate for chancellor from the bloc of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), Annalena Baerbock is the candidate from the German Greens party, and Olaf Scholz is the Social Democrats' candidate. According to polls, the CDU/CSU, which is ahead of the "Greens" by about 10 percentage points, is the most popular among voters.