MOSCOW, Aug 20 — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today that despite their differences, Moscow and Berlin need to maintain dialogue, speaking on her final working visit to Russia.
Her trip comes at a time of strained relations between Russia and the West over a litany of issues, including the case of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Merkel’s aides have made it clear that it is not accidental that Germany’s outgoing leader is coming to Moscow on the anniversary of Navalny’s near fatal poisoning attack.
“Even if we have deep disagreements, we are talking to one another and it should stay that way,” Merkel told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a televised part of their meeting in the Kremlin.
“We have a lot to talk about,” she added, naming several issues on their agenda, including the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
But she did not mention Navalny, 45, who is currently serving jail time in a prison outside Moscow on old fraud charges.
Merkel visited Navalny when he was treated at the Charite hospital in Berlin following the attack.
Speaking to Merkel, Putin said that Germany is one of Russia’s “main partners in Europe, in the world and in general”.
“That is also due to our efforts,” said Putin, who greeted Merkel with a bouquet of flowers.
During the chancellor’s 16 years in power, the pair always kept a dialogue despite strained relations, dampened by issues ranging from alleged cyberattacks to the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. — AFP