Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met outside Berlin on Saturday for talks ranging from the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, to Iran and a gas pipeline project that has drawn USA ire. Yet while Putin suggested humanitarian aid would pave the way for some Syrian refugees to return home, German officials say that's unrealistic for now.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) congratulates Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl as he attends her wedding with Austrian businessman Wolfgang Meilinger in Gamlitz, southern Austria, on Saturday.
Merkel and Putin met in May this year in the Russian city of Sochi and analyzed the aforementioned issues and others such as the nuclear deal with Iran, abandoned by Washington that month. "While reporters were discussing his dance with the bride, Putin and Merkel had an opportunity to hold closed-door talks", Belov concluded.
Merkel and Putin will each make statements before the start of the talks.
For all their differences, Merkel and Putin agreed that they want to preserve the nuclear accord with Iran after Trump withdrew US support for the deal.
Topics during the bilateral talks include Ukraine, Syria and the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany that the United States and some European countries object to.
It'll be a stargazer's delight the next few nights watching the Perseids
They arise when the Earth passes through the debris of Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. Tiny particles burn up in earth's atmosphere, resulting in and formed the "star rain".
Putin also spoke about global reconstruction efforts and the humanitarian situation in Syria.
"I want to stress here that Nord Stream 2 is only an economic project and it does not close the door to the continuation of gas transit through the territory of Ukraine", he said.
"We need to strengthen the humanitarian effort in the Syrian conflict", he said on Saturday before the evening meeting with the German chancellor at... The two leaders believe "it is absolutely wrong to politicize this project" and that it should be completed, he said.
But Merkel has maintained that the Nord Stream project is an economic, not political matter for Germany.
Yet the foreign ministry insisted that Putin's visit "will not change anything in terms of Austria's foreign policy positions".
The head of Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) Andrea Nahles suggested Sunday that Berlin should consider providing assistance to Turkey amid spike in tension with the United States and Turkish lira's volatility.
Peskov said Putin said "quite a long toast in German in which he said he was thankful and happy that he got a chance to visit the hospitable Austria".