Medvedev, Merkel to meet in Russia's Yekaterinburg

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are due to meet in the Russian Urals city of Yekaterinburg for a two-day summit with international affairs, trade and economic cooperation atop the agenda.

Kremlin aide Sergei Prikhodko told reporters on Tuesday that " among our priorities are European security (under the Russian initiative to conclude a new European security treaty), Russia's relations with the European Union (EU) and NATO, and issues related to the outcome and implementation of the agreements reached at the G8 and G20 summits."

Medvedev will raise the issue of lifting visa regime between Russia and the EU at the summit, said Prikhodko, while Merkel may probably talk about the Iranian nuclear program, the Middle East settlement and Afghanistan among other hotspot international issues.

But most likely, Merkel may inquire about the progress of relations between Moscow, Kiev and Minsk, in particular in the context of the recent "gas war" that might threaten Europe's energy security.

Another important series of issues will be from the economic and trade field, as the two leaders have planned to meet participants at a bilateral business forum, and a package of agreements are expected to be signed.

This will be the fifth meeting between Medvedev and Merkel this year, said Prikhodko, and "the first full-scale intergovernmental meeting since the German parliamentary election 2009."

The Yekaterinburg summit will be held from Wednesday to Thursday.

[Source: Reuters, Moscow, 13Jul10]

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