A series of surprising strong representations on the International political stage in Europe, the EU Summit, visits to Washington and now in Moscow, has caught the German media off guard. Angela Merkel was considered the ugly duckling early in the election process as seen by most German citizens.

“A Very Good Start”

In the latest polls Merkel scores 84% as favorible in job rating, as persons are very satisfied in her performance. Her GDR descent as CDU/CSU Christian Democrat Chancellor of Germany, combined with the SPD leadership for another GDR politician, Matthias Platzeck, has transformed the optimism of the East German citizens where 75% now consider themselves  equals to the West Germans. On the domestic economic policy, the optimism expressed in the near future jumped an amazing ten percentage points to 42% today, from 32% early in December. People have seen little employment opportunities after the fall of Communism and the wall in 1989 in the old GDR, but do find pride in the high level of discussion by Merkel with world leaders Bush and Putin. Merkel has the ability for frank and open discussion, with focus on Human Rights issues meanwhile keeping her visit a friendly meeting of leaders. The Germans appreciate her for excellent performance.

Angela Merkel in Moscow »»
Her latest visit with Putin in the Kremlin, illustrates her manner of operation. Merkel’s was to last two hours, but she spend three hours with Putin. Former Chancellor Schroeder would have left for the airport to return home, not so for Angela Merkel. Her demonstration to have an open mind and wish to hear views from a cross-section of Russian society, she spend many hours at the German Embassy in Moscow.

Putin Cagey on Iran Issue After Discussions With Merkel

Angela Merkel arrived on her first visit to Russia since becoming German chancellor today hoping to use the “strategic partnership” between the two countries to persuade President Vladimir Putin to join the European Union and the United States in pressuring Iran.

While other topics such as energy collaborations and human rights were breached, the most pressing subject of Merkel’s three-hour discussions with Putin was the escalating Iranian nuclear crisis. Emerging from the talks, the Russian president gave little away about what action his country would be supporting.

“As for Russia, and Germany, and our European partners and the United States — we have very close positions on the Iranian problem,” President Putin said at the joint press conference after the talks.

But he warned against taking “abrupt” steps over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and said Tehran had not ruled out a Russian proposal to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian territory.  

German Chancellor Angela Merkel cheers during a welcome in the German embassy in Moscow, with former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who turned Kremlin opponent, at bottom left. After her talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during her six-hour visit to Moscow Merkel also met with human rights groups. AP Photo/ Jan Bauer/ Pool

Putin satisfied with results of talks with Angela Merkel

MOSCOW (Itar/Tass) Jan. 16 — President Vladimir Putin said he is satisfied with the results of his three-hour talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Speaking at a press conference, Putin said, “The talks were fruitful, sincere and rather trusty. They proved of our common drive for ensuring the continuity in the development of Russian-German partnership. We intend to strengthen and expand our interaction at bilateral and multilateral levels.”

An agreement has been reached to hold high-level intergovernmental consultations to take place in Tomsk in April, the Russian president said.

In his words, Russia also expresses satisfaction with trade and economic cooperation with Germany. Last year trade turnover between the two countries reached 32 billion U.S. dollars. “This is a good base for the development,” Putin stressed.

The talks focused on ways “to expand our cooperation in the energy sector and cutting edged technologies. Our interaction will facilitate the creation of the common economic space in Europe in compliance with the Russia-EU `roadmap’,” the Russian president said. He expressed the hope that the issues that Russia included in the agenda of the G-8 summit – energy security, education and the fight against epidemics “will be discussed in detail and help solve these problems.”

Putin thanked Merkel for “an open constructive approach towards discussing these issues and your invitation to visit Germany.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting in the Moscow Kremlin. Merkel arrived in Russia for her first visit as Germany's chancellor, aiming to underscore a 'strategic partnership', while still meeting with representatives of human rights groups. AP Photo/Misha Japaridze

Merkel stressed, “We intend to expand our strategic partnership with Russia shortly. We’ll intensify it.” “We said our relations were multilateral and embraced all spheres. We discussed in detail energy interaction, in particular in the North European gas pipeline.”

The chancellor said she is hopeful that the development of trade cooperation would allow German enterprises to take part in it. Commenting on the upcoming April consultations in Tomsk, Merkel noted that she would use this opportunity in order to “discuss in detail our humanitarian cooperation, in particular in expanding youth exchange.”

She pointed out, “Despite different approaches, we considered the situation in Chechnya and the North Caucasus. I stressed once again that I exerted maximum effort the European Union programmes to facilitate the development in the republic.”

In her words, this topic was discussed “openly and substantially.”

Poland and the North European Gas Pipeline

“Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”

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