Kremlin reports on Putin-Merkel talks in Germany

Russian Presidential Press-Secretary Dmitry Peskov told the Russian BBC service the key points of the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The leaders met on Saturday, August 18, at the Schloss Meseberg in Germany. This was Putin’s first first visit to Germany since 2014.

The negotiations reportedly lasted three hours. Putin and Merkel spoke for a long time face to face in the residence park. The leaders did not give a press conference at the end of the meeting.

According to Peskov, the parties agreed “not to politicize” the construction process of the Nord Stream 2 as pipeline, because it is supposedly “exclusively commercial” in nature. However, the German chancellor insisted on the importance of maintaining gas transit through Ukraine, as she said at the press conference before the talks. Peskov confirmed to reporters that this issue was discussed, but noted that the prospect of new US sanctions against companies participating in the Russian gas pipeline project was not brought up.

Putin and Merkel also spoke about Russian aggression in Ukraine. The German chancellor set out to discuss the prospects of deploying a UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbas and implementing a stable “school truce” from the start of the school year on September 1.

“Both sides expressed disappointment in connection with the total slipping of the process of implementing the Minsk agreements,” Peskov noted.

According to Peskov, the leaders of Russia and Germany discussed the situation in Syria “in great detail”. The Russian president insisted on the necessity of repatriating refugees, which would supposedly be profitable for Europe itself. He also tried to push the idea of getting the US and Europe to restore the regions of the country destroyed by Russian and Assad-regime forces (the Russian Armed Forces support the dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria).

“Assistance restoring the water supply, sewerage, assistance restoring medicine – the most basic things. I think that all are interested in this, including Europe,” Putin said.

Merkel, in turn, emphasized the necessity of holding elections first and implementing constitution reforms in Syria. She is also concerned by the possible humanitarian crisis in Syria’s Idlib Governorate.

Before the start of the talks, Chancellor Merkel also promised to bring up the nuclear deal with Iran. Berlin intends to comply with the deal, despite US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal. The Russian president concurred with Merkel on this matter.

The politicians were also supposed to discuss “current human rights issues” at the Meseberg. However, Peskov did not make any statements in this regard after the talks.

The Russian presidential spokesman also noted that Berlin and Moscow are both concerned by the recent tariff increases, although he did not mention the US specifically.

According to Peskov, the goal of the recent bilateral negotiations was not to achieve concrete agreements, but to have “useful, needed and timely discussions to synchronize watches”.

The German chancellor was also not expecting any special results from the “work meeting” with Putin at the Meseberg residence. Merkel and Putin had also met in May this year in Sochi.

  Putin, Merkel, Peskov, Russia, Europe, Nord Stream - 2, Syria

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