Merkel urges Putin to work with the West
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged President Vladimir Putin to work with Europe to find solutions to global problems at a time when Russia and the West are increasingly at odds.
Merkel called for "a close partnership built on mutual understanding" between Russia and Europe, in a speech to a German-Russian political conference in the spa city of Wiesbaden that Putin is attending.
"We can only solve the big global problems together. At the current time, we are talking a lot about Iran and the nuclear issue and about Kosovo" Merkel said.
"We are trying to work in an intelligent way towards constructive solutions. We cannot resolve conflicts if we work against each other.
"We can disagree with each other and still get on well with each other. We should not try to sweep our disagreements under the carpet, we should put them on the table."
Merkel said human rights, such as freedom of expression, were "essential to building understanding."
In his speech to the conference, called the Petersburg Dialogue, Putin said Russia was "well aware of our joint responsibility to strengthen strong and reliable relations and cooperation between European countries."
Putin and Merkel were to hold talks expected to focus on the growing mistrust between Moscow and the West, caused by opposing views on Iran's nuclear ambitions, US plans to build an anti-missile shield in eastern Europe and the future status of Kosovo.