Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned against expectations that her meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin today will produce any breakthrough on the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
Speaking on the eve of talks with the Russian leader, Merkel pitched the meeting as the product of necessity rather than choice: Russia and Germany must engage in dialogue on the long list of problems they have an interest in solving.
“It’s a working meeting from which no specific results are expected - but the number of problems that occupy us – from Ukraine and Syria to the issue of economic co-operation – is so big that it is justified to be in a permanent dialogue,” Merkel said.
Merkel spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday, ahead of her meeting with Putin, and discussed the situation in Ukraine and Syria, Macron’s office said in a statement, without elaborating.
Merkel and Putin last met in Sochi in May, when they struggled to overcome differences during the German chancellor’s first visit to Russia since it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.
The annexation and ensuing conflict between Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and the Ukrainian army set off the worst confrontation between Russia and the West since World War II.
Russia and Germany agree that an internationally-brokered peace deal known as the Minsk agreement must be fully implemented to end the conflict, but cannot agree on the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission.
Germany and France want UN troops deployed in all areas controlled by Russian-backed rebels, including on the Ukraine-Russia border.
Russia opposes this idea.
Relations between the two countries have also been strained by the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will carry gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
The United States says it will increase Germany’s dependence on Russia for energy.
Ukraine fears the pipeline will allow Russia to cut it off from the gas transit business.
Germany’s eastern European neighbours, nervous of Russian encroachment, have also raised concerns about the project.
A spokesman for Merkel said this week that the European Union was still in talks with Russia to ensure that Ukraine continues to play a role in the lucrative energy transit business even after Nord Stream 2 is completed.
On Syria, Germany wants Putin to finalise a lasting ceasefire there with the United States.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Key EU countries agree on redistribution scheme for sea migrants
Tens of thousands stranded as travel company Thomas Cook collapses
Party will decide our Brexit stand, says Corbyn
Swiss hold high-altitude wake for lost glacier
Germany heads to UN with plan to save planet
Corbyn urges unity amid British Labour party's 'battle for future'
British government plays down bailout chances for Thomas Cook
Royal baby Archie awaited in S Africa for first official trip
Labour wrestles with Brexit, election plans