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Tough talks, no agreements at Merkel, Putin meeting near Berlin

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Tough talks, no agreements at Merkel, Putin meeting near Berlin

By Andreas Rinke and Vladimir Soldatkin

 

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Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the guest house Meseberg Palace in Gransee, Germany August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

 

MESEBERG, Germany (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as Iran and a gas pipeline project that has drawn U.S. ire during tough talks outside Berlin that ended with no clearcut progress.

 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters no agreements were reached, but the meeting had simply been intended to "check the watches" after Merkel's meeting with Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in May.

 

Ties between the two countries have been strained since Russia's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014.

 

The two leaders both viewed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project as a purely commercial venture, despite persistent fire by the U.S. and Ukrainian governments, Peskov said.

 

"That’s why it is necessary to take measures against possible non-competitive and illegal attacks from the third countries in order to complete this project eventually," he told reporters shortly before Putin flew back to Russia. It was not immediately clear what such "measures" could entail.

 

At the start of the talks, Merkel underscored her expectation that Ukraine should continue to have a role in gas transit to Europe, and welcomed the start of discussions among the European Union, Ukraine and Russia on that issue.

 

Putin, speaking at the German government's Meseburg castle, said such a move had to make sense from a business perspective.

"The main thing is that the Ukrainian transit – which is traditional for us - meets economic demands," he said. "Nord Stream 2 is exclusively an economic project."

 

The United States is pressing Berlin to halt the pipeline that will carry gas from Russia under the Baltic Sea, arguing 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, while Germany's eastern European neighbours worry about Russian encroachment.

 

Peskov said the threat of possible U.S. sanctions against companies involved in the project was not discussed on Saturday.

 

Standing beside Putin before the talks, Merkel said both countries - but especially Russia as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council - had a responsibility to try to solve the ongoing fighting in Ukraine and Syria.

 

She said she also planned to raise potentially thorny human rights issues with Putin, and discuss bilateral relations.

 

"I am of the opinion that controversial issues can only be addressed in dialogue and through dialogue," she said.

 

Both leaders raised concerns about Syria and the plight of the many refugees created by the seven-year-old war there.

 

Merkel said it was important to avert a humanitarian crisis in Idlib, Syria and the surrounding region, and said she and Putin had already discussed the issue of constitutional reforms and possible elections when they last met in Sochi in May.

 

Putin told reporters that everything must be done to help Syrian refugees to return to their country and that Syria needed assistance to rebuild. The two leaders took no questions.

 

On Ukraine, Merkel said she hoped fresh efforts could be undertaken at the beginning of the new school year to disentangle Ukrainian military forces and separatists on the front lines in the Donbass region.

 

Putin arrived in Germany on Saturday evening after a stop at an Austrian vineyard where he danced with Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl at her wedding to entrepreneur Wolfgang Meilinger.

 

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper Germany hoped to "create new momentum" in the Minsk peace process. Sanctions relief for Russia would only be negotiated if the Minsk accord was implemented, he added.

 

Maas said he had spoken with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin this week, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was due to visit Berlin again on Sept. 14 after a meeting with Merkel in the German capital last month.

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-08-19

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I'll bet the Poles are keeping a low profile right now

  • Haha 2

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Expert merkel to show more backbone, intelligence, statesmanship than trump could ever summon against putin or any other leader.

Don The draft dodger fares better late at night (safely esconsed in the white house surrounded by security men) spewing out his hate filled vitriolic tweets against leaders he wouldnt dare to their faces

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1 hour ago, Srikcir said:

Nice to see rational diplomatic discussions between "competitors" without threats of retaliation, name calling nor fake adulation. Meanwhile back in America ....sigh.

Exactly and very true.   Further more I bet Angela had a good titter when her pal Vlad showed her stills of Trumps' water sports events in that St Petersburg hotel.

  • Haha 2

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Tactical movements, Ukraine will get less money, Poland will get less money.

Germany gets gas cheaper and selling better all over Europe.

Besides nice answer to Trump with his BS.

USA first? Europe now awakening and think Europe first??? 

We made a creedy stupid world, system. 

USA dont care about CO2 pollution, no one seems to care about ocean pollutions

which are as bad or even worse, as air pollution. 

8000000 TONS/year plastic in oceans, plastic islands as big as Texas !

We dont care about people at all, only if you sing and die. Or have a Nobel price in peace and die.

Or an English guy marrying an American woman. Jeepers creepers what a bs.

We dont care about our home, earth.

However: it's just all about the money, dumm dumm dumm de dee day 

 

  • Thanks 2

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"I am of the opinion that controversial issues can only be addressed in dialogue and through dialogue," Mrs Merkel  said.

 

That did not seem to be her opinion when the refugee issue raised its head in the EU.  She considered that her opinion and decision on the matter at the time was paramount but then expected all member countries subsequently to agree to take a share.  Just look at the problems and discord that has caused in the community ever since.

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I initially saw this on Twitter, disappointing that nothing tangible came from it however at least the meeting took place.

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BANGKOK 24 September 2018 18:09
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