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Russia’s Putin, Germany’s Merkel Hold Talks in Moscow

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Russia’s Putin, Germany’s Merkel Hold Talks in Moscow

MOSCOW – German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks Saturday in Moscow focusing on what both sides billed as a range of vexing international issues — including Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Ukraine and Russian-European gas politics.

The weekend meeting capped a particularly fraught week in the Middle East, and both leaders listed areas of possible agreement in addressing the region’s crises during a news conference following the meeting.

Merkel said Russia and Germany were “united” on the importance of preserving an international deal to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions, despite the U.S. exit under the Trump administration from the 2015 six-nation brokered agreement.

“Germany is convinced that Iran should not have access to nuclear weapons and therefore we will use all diplomatic means in order for the agreement, which of course is not ideal, to be preserved,” said Merkel, alluding to U.S. criticism of the deal as ineffective.

The Iran deal “is extremely important not only for the region, but for the whole world,” added Putin, who noted that a wider war in the Middle East would be a “catastrophe.”

“Today an important step was taken,” said Merkel, in referencing the Iranian admission it had accidentally fired on the plane, while calling for an “exhaustive investigation.”

Touching on Libya, Putin touted a deal struck this week with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Russian and Turkish leaders agreed to push for a cease-fire effective Sunday — despite the fact Moscow and Ankara have been backing opposing sides in the Libyan conflict.

Merkel endorsed the Russian-Turkish initiative and announced Berlin would be willing to host U.N.-led peace talks aimed at “allowing Libya to become a peaceful and sovereign country.”

The two leaders also announced they would move forward with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has faced delays in recent months. It’s one of several Kremlin deals aimed at supplanting Ukraine to supply Europe with Russian gas.

The Nord Stream 2 project triggered U.S. sanctions in late 2019 amid concerns by the Trump White House that the deal makes Europe too reliant on Russian reserves.

Yet Merkel pushed back against the U.S. sanctions as “the wrong path” and said Germany would push ahead with the project regardless of objections by its American ally.

“Germany and other European countries benefit from Nord Stream. Everyone is interested in diversifying their gas supplies,” said the German chancellor.

“Yes, we will certainly be able to complete it on our own, without attracting foreign partners. The question is the timing,” added Putin, addressing the U.S. sanctions.

The Russian leader said the project had faced some delays because of sanctions but would be online by the end of this year or the beginning of 2021.

Indeed, Merkel noted that Russia and Germany’s own relations often were tense — Germany is a backer of sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine — indicating the two sides could work together where mutual interests allowed.

“The point of visits like today is to talk with one another, not about one another,” said Merkel.

With that, Putin cracked the slightest hint of a smile.

Originally Posted on Abbtak Tv

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