Merkel and Putin discuss the world's problems

For the first time in five years German Chancellor Angela Merkel has travelled to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders discussed the situation in the Middle East after the most recent escalation and possibilities for a political solution in Libya. Commentators say the meeting was unusually harmonious, but not all see this as a positive development.

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Ria Novosti (RU) /

Both want peace in the Middle East

The fact that Germany's interests in the Middle East coincide with those of Russia is contributing to the rapprochement between the two states, Ria Novosti concludes:

“Russia has well-established contacts at the military level with the key powers in the region, including Iran, the US, Israel and Turkey. The authority of our country is so great there that everyone listens to and takes note of the Kremlin's opinion. Unlike the United States, which because of its geographical distance can be quite happy when things really explode in the Middle East, Moscow has an interest in the pacification of the region. This is where the goals of Russia and Germany (and Europe as a whole) coincide. It's therefore easy to understand why the German chancellor flew to Moscow in such a hurry.”

Bild (DE) /

From rival to supplicant

As she approaches the end of her term in office Merkel no longer has the strength to stand up to Putin, Bild complains:

“Whether it's regarding Ukraine, Syria, Libya or Iran, Putin is showing the way. Merkel simply nods politely and accepts his cynical provocations. She is silent when he justifies the park murder. She talks about peace in Syria while he has bombs dropped on Syrian civilians. Once rivals on an equal footing, one now calls the shots while the other has become the supplicant. Not because Putin has reined in his aggressive foreign policy, but because Merkel no longer puts up any resistance. Europe urgently needs a leader who can challenge Putin on his own ground. Angela Merkel hasn't been that for a long time.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Donald Trump won't like this

The US president won't have been happy about the meeting between Merkel and Putin, Večernji list suspects:

“With her support for the completion of Nord Stream 2 and the energy partnership with Putin, Merkel is openly defying Trump. And it will not have escaped the American president's attention that just like the Kremlin, Berlin also condemned General Soleimani's execution. Germany has once again distanced itself from Washington and moved closer to Putin, who in turn backed the chancellor's proposal that the international Libya conference should take place in Berlin. ... The message that Berlin and Moscow want to send seems pretty clear: while Trump is causing chaos we are patiently working together to calm the situation in the Middle East and Libya. The vain Mr Trump won't forgive Merkel for that so easily.”