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Bavaria's Prime Minister Seehofer Defends His Visit to Moscow

'We are surrounded by many, many political hot spots that can’t be extinguished without Moscow...sanctions won’t solve a lot of the problems that are around the globe'


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Originally Appeared at Sputnik Deutschland. Translated from German by Susan Neumann



Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer has rejected criticism of his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Seehofer, he’s not promoting any parallel foreign policy.

The purpose of the visit is Bavaria, which has always had good economic relations with Moscow. These relations have always been of great importance and they will continue to be important in the near future.

The meeting with Putin in Moscow is scheduled for next Thursday. In an interview with ZDF, Seehofer pointed out that his state has always had good traditional relations with Russia and especially with Moscow. The Prime Minister also emphasized that Bavaria and Moscow share broad-based economic ties. Seehofer also added that it’s advisable to maintain a dialogue with Russia. After all, the German Federal Government does this.

"We are surrounded by many, many political hot spots that can’t be extinguished without Moscow," Seehofer said. He also expressed the hope that sanctions imposed on Russia be gradually eased or lifted entirely. "Because sanctions won’t solve a lot of the problems that are around the globe."

Seehofer reiterated that most of the discussion will particularly revolve around the economic relations between Russia and Bavaria. The CSU party leader told ZDF, "We’re not exercising any parallel political strategies in Germany," while adding that the trip had been meticulously prepared in advance.

Seehofer also stated that he had discussed everything with Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel. "The idea of going at all was also discussed with Chancellor." The goal is "that we make a little progress.” The current global political situation calls for international cooperation.

Bavaria's Deputy Minister-President Ilse Aigner defended Seehofer’s visit to see Vladimir Putin in  her interview with Die Welt. Especially in difficult times, it should be a priority to talk with one another — that includes talking about economic interests.

"At any rate, the Prime Minister’s visit is important — especially for Bavaria. The purpose of the visit is to maintain what have always been good relations between the State of Bavaria and Russia, even during a difficult time period. There are about 1,700 Bavarian companies in Russia. And there’s the partnership between Bavaria and the city of Moscow. It is important to keep an open channel of communication."

The Deputy Minister-President also put to question the effectiveness of the sanctions. "The Russians are apparently tough in the face of adversity and President Putin doesn’t appear to be weak in his giant country," said Aigner.


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