Gernot Erler: "Putin should not be late for meeting with Merkel"
The German Government's Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries, Gernot Erler, told Inforadio about his expectations from today's meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir Putin. When asked by a journalist how long Merkel will have to wait for Putin this time (during one of the meetings the German chancellor waited for a meeting with the Russian president for four hours - VK), Erler noted: "Vladimir Putin should not be late to meet the Chancellor this time, since there are only four hours for holding negotiations. Anyone who is four hours late will not hold any meeting at all. "
At the same time, Gernot Erler believes that Angela Merkel is important for Vladimir Putin, as she and her government act for maintaining an open dialogue with Russia both at the national and European level, although not all partners of Germany support such a position. Despite the fact that Germany's clear position on the issues of Crimea and eastern Ukraine is problematic for Putin, he is in need of maintaining dialogue in a constructive manner as well.
According to Erler, a reliable assurance of the Russian President that the Minsk agreements are being implemented can be seen as a success of the talks in Sochi. At the same time, the German diplomat recalled the negative experience of the past, when real progress was practically not achieved. "Sometimes the conflict subsides for a certain time, but then it returns to the old channel again. Let's hope that things will be different this time. But I don't have high hopes," Erler shared his personal view.
Referring to the Syrian conflict, which will also be the subject of the German-Russian negotiations, the diplomat noted that, in his opinion, Syrian President Bashar Assad in certain issues is trying not to succumb to Russian influence. Here it is necessary to remind Moscow of its responsibility, and it will be one of the topics of the talks between Merkel and Putin. Now we are talking about creating a representative circle of negotiators. Russia should have an influence on Assad in exactly this direction, who, apparently, continues to rely exclusively on the military component. However, there is an understanding in Moscow that the use of force alone will not solve the conflict".