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4 Feb, 2016 03:31

Germany & West need Russia to settle Syria and refugee crises - Bavarian leader

Germany & West need Russia to settle Syria and refugee crises - Bavarian leader

Bavaria has traditionally “intensive” ties with Russia, the leader of the German state said during his meeting with President Putin in Moscow, promising to foster not only economic relations but also cultural ties and overall trust between the states.

“We think it our duty, the duty of our hearts and souls, to put a bit more trust back into our relations,” Minister-President of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, told Vladimir Putin as he met with the Russian President on a visit to Moscow on Wednesday. 

During the meeting, Putin praised Russian-Bavarian ties and Seehofer’s efforts to maintain business and cultural relationship between Germany and Russia.

“We have a special relationship with Bavaria: the volume of trade and economic relations are very high and Bavaria accounts for 20 percent of all Russian-German economic ties,” Putin said.

The Russian leader noted that some 1,600 companies are engaged with Bavarian firms, ranging from electronic and engineering to construction industry projects.

“Fifty percent of Germany’s investment projects in Russia are of Bavarian origin,” he stressed. Putin also mentioned his telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who “supports relations between Russia’s regions and Germany.”

Seehofer who is also the head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria agreed, saying that besides economic ties, Germany and the rest of the Western countries should be “working together rather than in conflict” with Russia to resolve international issues like the Syrian conflict and the refugee crisis.

“We want to accomplish all this not against our federal government, but with it, and not against Russia, but ideally with Russia,” he added. “I am very pleased that you said today that we are not coming here as plotters.”

“Never in the run-up to any of my previous visits to other countries, have I heard as much untruthful and inaccurate information as I have this time,” the head of Bavaria noted.

“As for various rumors, this is inevitable, but we both share great responsibility for maintaining jobs and continuing cultural ties, and we know your attitude and your desire to do everything possible to normalize relations between Russia and Europe and Russia and Germany,” Putin replied.

Seehofer is continuing his working visit to Moscow at the invitation of Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, and is scheduled to hold a press conference on Thursday.