Dinner after the wedding: why Vladimir Putin flew to Angela Merkel :: Policy :: RBC

The President of Russia and Chancellor of Germany during a working dinner in Germany primarily discussed implementation of the “Nord stream-2” and the situation in Ukraine. To compromise Moscow and Berlin are pushing their contradictions with the United States, he said

Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel

(Photo: Alexei Druzhinin / TASS)

On Saturday, August 18, was held a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Topics of bilateral and global agenda, the leaders discussed over dinner at the country residence of the German government for distinguished guests — Meseberg, 70 km North of Berlin. Discussion of Putin and Merkel began at about eight o’clock Moscow time and lasted three hours. In focus were questions of the project of the pipeline “Nord stream-2” from Russia to Germany through the Baltic sea, as well as the crises in Syria and Ukraine. The negotiations were long, the conversation was extensive and detailed, commented on the conversation of the leaders of the press Secretary of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov (quoted by TASS).

The American factor

The talks in Meseberg — the second meeting of leaders of Russia and Germany for three months. May 18, Merkel visited Sochi, where he and Putin discussed Iranian nuclear deal, the Ukrainian crisis and the construction of “Nord stream-2” (SP-2). Speaking to reporters before the talks with Putin, Merkel said that, despite their differences, Moscow and Berlin should continue efforts to achieve a better understanding on key issues. “I believe that even the most acute disagreements can only be resolved through negotiations,” she said (quote from DW).

Following the talks, Peskov stated the absence from Berlin and Moscow disagreements concerning expediency of construction of the SP-2. According to him, Merkel and Putin agreed on the fallacy of the position of those who are trying to politicize the project. “There is an understanding that this project is purely commercial, it is profitable, competitive,” — said Peskov.

A spokesman for the Russian leader also announced plans to repel the enemies of SP-2, wishing to prevent its construction, including through sanctions. “It is necessary to take measures to protect it (the project. — RBC) from possible non-competitive and unlawful attacks by third States in order eventually to reach the completion of this project,” he said.

Earlier, U.S. President Donald trump called Germany hostage to Moscow due its dependence on Russian energy resources, and advocated the increase of the EU American liquefied natural gas (LNG). And in early August, the U.S. Senate introduced a new anti-Russian sanctions within the act (the”Act on the protection of U.S. security from the aggression of the Kremlin”, DASKAA). Part of the provisions of this bill provides for the imposition of sanctions against cooperating with Russia, European companies, including energy.

Berlin dissatisfied with the blackmail trump, who uses the construction of the SP-2 as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Germany on a trade deal the US and the EU, said RBC Stefan Meister, head of the Center. The Robert Bosch Foundation for the study of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia at the German society for foreign policy. According to experts, actions of the American administration became a factor that pushed Moscow and Berlin to restore dialogue. “Merkel needs Putin to consent to the continuation of gas supplies through Ukraine, despite the project SP-2, says Meister. — Putin needs Merkel to get any warranty support by the European Union of new us sanctions.”

Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin, Yuri Ushakov (left to right) and Angela Merkel (second from right)

(Photo: Alexei Druzhinin / TASS)

The need to continue the transit of gas through Ukraine after the implementation of SP-2 Merkel reiterated on Saturday. The Russian leader pointed out that the construction of the SP-2 does not close of the possibility of such supplies. “Merkel wants to use this argument (Moscow’s willingness to continue to transit through Ukraine. — RBC), to lobby for the “Nord stream-2″ in Washington and some European capitals,” says Meister.

The crisis in Syria

Affected the leaders and the Syrian issue. Putin called on the EU to increase financial support for humanitarian aid to Syria to could return of 5 million refugees. Million Syrian refugees in Jordan, another million in Lebanon, about 3 million located in Turkey, has listed Putin, Recalling that several hundred thousand immigrants from Arab Republic adopted Germany. “Potentially this is a huge burden for Europe,” warned the Russian President.

Merkel agreed with the need to stabilize Syria and to return migrants there. The Chancellor stressed that to resolve the crisis in the middle Eastern country there is need to hold elections and create a Constitution (quoted by DW). “Merkel would like to send immigrants from Germany and other EU countries back to Syria and needs Putin as the power to influence the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad. Putin is looking to keep Assad in power after the war, and to receive EU funds for the reconstruction of the country,” explains Meister.

Unsolvable question

Ahead of the meeting German business leaders urged Germany and Russia to intensify efforts to resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. “Sustainable normalization of relations can be achieved only in case of successful establishment of peace in Ukraine”, — claimed the head of the Eastern Committee of German economy (Ost-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft) Wolfgang Bushel in a statement on 16 Aug, received the RBC. The Bushel represents the interests of 350 German companies and associations in the markets of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Central Asia, Caucasus and South-Eastern Europe.

To date, however, no positive changes in the Ukrainian direction is not visible. Putin and Merkel said they remain committed to the Minsk agreements, however, stated that their provisions are not implemented. In particular, as noticed Merkel in the East of Ukraine did not manage to achieve a stable truce (quoted by DW). The German Chancellor added that he hoped to make a new attempt to dissolve the Armed forces of Ukraine and the armed forces of the self-proclaimed DNR and LC in the fall.

Meister on the prospects for early progress on the Ukrainian dossier looks skeptical. “Unlike the Syrian or SP-2 on which the parties there is some specific agenda, I do not think that Germany or Russia have a desire to compromise on this issue,” he said. While the warming in relations between Russia and the EU is possible only by reducing the significance of the Ukrainian crisis in the hierarchy of priorities of the parties, but not at the expense of its final decision, the expert concluded.

The guest of honor

Before the talks in Meseberg Putin attended the wedding of the foreign Minister of Austria Karin Kneissl and businessman Wolfgang Meilinger. The ceremony took place in the South in the town of Hamilt. Putin congratulated the couple and invited the bride to dance. As told RBC press Secretary of the foreign Ministry of Austria Matthias Forenbaher, wedding invitation, Putin did during his visit to Vienna in June, the willingness to attend the ceremony, the Russian leader said “a few weeks ago.” In total, Putin and Kneisl know each other for over 17 years, they met on the Russian-American summit in Slovenia in 2001, said Forenbaher (quote via the Guardian).

The visit of Vladimir Putin to the wedding, the foreign Minister of Austria. Photos

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