Inter-governmental consultations with Russia
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Westerwelle and seven other Cabinet members have left for the German-Russian intergovernmental consultations in Moscow. They are accompanied by a business delegation. This is the 14th round of intergovernmental consultations to take place since 1998.
Merkel and Putin at the German-Russian intergovernmental consultations
The agenda of the Moscow talks covers all issues of significance in German-Russian relations: the two countries’ modernization partnership and economic ties as well as issues on the international agenda, including the conflict in Syria, cooperation in Afghanistan and the latest escalation of tensions in the Middle East. A series of economic agreements and interministerial accords on subjects such as clean technologies are expected to be signed.
The consultations are being held against the backdrop of the Germany Year in Russia and the Russia Year in Germany now under way.
Before the consultations began Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle urged the need for the strategic partnership between the countries to be further intensified. Germany and Russia had a common interest in cooperating not only in economic matters but also in the conduct of international affairs, he pointed out. Germany would not shy away from criticism, however, where developments inside Russia were concerned. Even when opinions differed, he noted, it was important to keep the balance right and carry on talking to Moscow.
The German-Russian intergovernmental consultations staged alternately in Russia and Germany are an annual fixture, the last being held in Hanover in July 2011. The two countries are linked by a strategic partnership. Germany holds intergovernmental consultations with a number of countries, including France, Poland, Israel and India.
Civil society dialogue
Developments inside Russia and the situation of civil society are also on the agenda in Moscow. Under the auspices of the Petersburg Dialogue representatives of both countries’ political and cultural communities as well as the churches have been meeting since 14 November. The theme of this year’s dialogue is “Russia and Germany: the information society and the challenges of the 21st century”. Ahead of the meeting Andreas Schockenhoff, the Federal Government’s Coordinator of German-Russian Intersocietal Cooperation, urged the need for frank discussions between both countries’ civil societies. Russia’s most important resources for the future were its people, not oil and gas, he explained.
The Federal Chancellor and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be attending the final session of the Petersburg Dialogue in Moscow. The discussion forum was founded in 2001 to promote greater understanding between civil society in both countries. Its steering committee comprises an equal number of German and Russian members and is chaired jointly by Lothar de Maizière for Germany and Viktor Zubkov for Russia.
Last updated 16.11.2012