Putin, Merkel to Discuss Conflicts In Ukraine, Syria At Berlin Meeting

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Topics during the bilateral talks included Ukraine, Syria and the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany that the United States and some European countries object to.

"It is certainly a geopolitical project aimed to weaken Ukraine".

"Ukraine must, in my opinion, play a role in the transit of gas to Europe", even after the start of Nord Stream 2 in 2019, the German chancellor said.

"I would like to stress that the main thing is that the Ukrainian transit - which is traditional for us - meets economic demands", he said.

Austrian authorities imposed tight security measures around the site of the ceremony near the southern border with Slovenia, where Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl married her partner Wolfgang Meilinger, a businessman.

The Minsk agreements are September 2014 and February 2015 pacts aimed at resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv government forces in a war that has killed more than 10,300 people since 2014.

Merkel said she and Putin would discuss the prospects of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine.

"We want to create new momentum in the Minsk (peace) process", German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview to be published by Die Welt am Sonntag on Sunday.

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Putin and Merkel discussed the idea of a meeting on Syria involving the leaders of France and Turkey as well as Russian Federation and Germany, according to Peskov.

Topics during the bilateral talks include Ukraine, Syria and the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany that the United States and some European countries object to.

"It's important to help those areas that the refugees can return to", said Putin, whose decision for Russian Federation to military intervene in Syria's conflict tilted the odds in favour of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"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.

'How is Austria's presidency of the European Union meant to live up to the government's own claims of building bridges (between the European Union and Russia) and being an honest broker, when Austria's foreign minister and chancellor are so obviously on one side?' asked MP Andreas Schieder of the opposition Social Democrats (SPOe).

Michel Reimon, an Austrian Green member of the European parliament (MEP) called on Kneissl to resign from her post. Merkel has also visited Putin in Russian Federation several times, most recently in May.

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