Putin stands firm in front of new German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Both the Russian president and the German chancellor said that they paid special attention to the Iranian problem

President Vladimir Putin welcomed the new German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Kremlin yesterday. Russia became the second country after the USA, which Merkel visited with a state visit. The German Chancellor discussed issues of the US-German friendship with George W. Bush and then arrived in Moscow to talk about the questions of strategic cooperation with Russia. Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel, AP

Angela Merkel's meeting with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin lasted for about three hours. Ms. Merkel intends to make Germany a mediator in Europe, apparently implying relations between Russia and the USA. For the time being, however, the new German Chancellor has achieved a certain progress with that role of hers in terms of the Iranian nuclear program.

Vladimir Putin stated during the meeting with Angela Merkel that the views of Russia, Germany and the USA had much in common as far as the Iranian problem was concerned. Putin said that the work with Tehran should be conducted very accurately, without making abrupt or wrong steps. The president released such a statement as an answer to a question from a German reporter, who asked Putin's opinion regarding a possibility of a military action against Iran if diplomatic efforts yielded no results. Angela Merkel seemingly turned a deaf ear to that question.

When the meeting with Angela Merkel ended, Putin said that Iranian partners did not exclude an opportunity to cooperate with Russia and establish a joint venture to enrich uranium on Russia's territory. The statement virtually proved Moscow's wish to give Iran another chance to come to a compromise with the IAEA. The president added that he had cited a statement from the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry although one could hear different viewpoints on the matter from Iran.

Both the Russian president and the German chancellor said that they paid special attention to the Iranian problem during the meeting in the Kremlin. If Merkel conducts successful mediation on this issue, she may obtain the reputation of a respectable European leader of high authority. This is an extremely important goal for Ms. Merkel to pursue taking into consideration Germany's forthcoming G8 presidency in 2007.

The Russian and German leaders talked about the fate of democracy in Russia, of course. Ms. Merkel tried to stress out the subject of Chechnya in the Northern Caucasus. When talking about the problem of Chechnya, Angela Merkel turned to Putin in an attempt to show how important the subject was for her. Putin returned the favor and enjoyed his own remark about certain problems with democracy and human rights in Western countries. “Both me and Ms. Merkel pay attention to such issues,” Putin said looking at the German chancellor. The latter confirmed the statement and said that she discussed the problem of CIA's secret prisons in Europe with George W. Bush.

As a matter of fact, the leaders of the two countries did not make any epoch-making decisions during yesterday's meeting. Observers said that it was the meeting of adjustment. Putin stated in the beginning of the meeting that the new administration in Germany did not affect the relations between Russia and Germany.

AP photo

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Author`s name Olga Savka