Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin held bilateral talks at the German government’s guesthouse in Meseberg, north of Berlin.
Speaking during a Press Conference before the meetings, Putin said they would discuss bilateral ties, economic cooperation and Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea.
“Nord Steam 2 is purely an economic project and it doesn’t close the door to shipping gas through Ukraine,” Putin said. Transit fees for Russian gas are an important item contributing to the Ukrainian budget.
With protesters audible Saturday outside the guesthouse in Meseberg, Putin also raised the issue of humanitarian aid and funding for international reconstruction in Syria. “It’s important to help those areas that the refugees can return to,” he said. “I think it’s in everyone’s interests, including Europe’s.”
Germany, which has taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the war, has in the past insisted it wouldn’t contribute to the reconstruction of Syria before a political settlement to end the war has been reached. Merkel said the talks would also touch on the possibility of establishing a United Nations mission to help bring about peace in Ukraine. AP/DW