Merkel wants close ties with Putin successor

March 8th, 2008 - 10:13 pm ICT by admin  

Moscow, March 8 (DPA) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that she was looking forward to close cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s successor despite differences between the two countries. “I think there will be good cooperation with the new president,” the chancellor said after an hour-long meeting with Putin at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow.

The chancellor said “all doors were open” to Dmitri Medvedev, who scored a landslide victory in the March 2 presidential elections and takes over as head of the state from Putin May 7.

“We want cooperation, but also favour a critical and open dialogue,” the chancellor said before heading to a new round of talks with the designated president at nearby Meiendorf castle.

During Merkel’s talks with Putin, the German leader expressed satisfaction with the way relations had developed with Russia since she came to power at the end of 2005.

“We have found a way to discuss critical issues openly and honestly,” the chancellor said after her arrival in snowy winter weather, noting that the two countries are dependent on each other.

“I hope this won’t be our last meeting,” said Putin, who presented Merkel with a bunch of flowers to mark the International Women’s Day. He described political and economic relations between the two countries as very good.

Merkel was expected to stress the importance of German-Russian relations to Medvedev and learn at first hand what plans he has to modernise Russia and strengthen its democratic structures.

Merkel, who planned to spend about five hours in the Russian capital, was one of the first foreign leaders to congratulate Medvedev after his victory in Sunday’s presidential election.

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