Russian leader heads to Germany for two-day visit

Other News Materials 10 October 2006 11:17 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - The Russian president will begin a two-day working visit to Germany on Tuesday, in a bid to deepen ties with Russia's main trade partner in Europe, reports Trend.

Vladimir Putin will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, attend the annual Petersburg Forum, and hold talks with Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber, a Kremlin source said.

"The meetings between the Russian president and Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber, and German businessmen, are aimed at promoting industrial and scientific cooperation and investment projects, including on the regional level," the source said.

Russia and Germany have been expanding their energy ties lately, in particular through the Nord Stream pipeline between the countries (the North European Gas Pipeline), of which former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder heads the shareholders' board.

Russian energy giant Gazprom made a shock announcement on Monday that it would develop the vast Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea on its own, and would pump most of the deposit's gas to Europe, via North Stream.

During Putin's visit to Germany, representatives of Russia's state-run Vnesheconombank will sign cooperation and loan agreements with several German banks, the Kremlin source also said.

Germany accounts for 10% of Russia's foreign trade. In 2005, trade between the countries reached $32.9 billion, and German investment in Russian economy hit $10.2 bln.