Germany’s Foreign Minister in Favour of Dialogue with Russia, not Sanctions
Russian troop movements on the border with Ukraine, the situation of Kremlin critic Navalny: Relations with Russia are at a low point, said Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday. Still, a continued dialogue was the reasonable way forward.
Precisely because of the current tensions, one had to rely on a dialogue with Moscow, Maas said on Sunday on German TV.
“Everyone says that the relationship between Russia, both towards Germany and the European Union, is at its lowest point at the moment,” he admitted.
“The relationship is highly defective. But it shouldn’t stay that way.”
It was part of the “essence of diplomacy” to speak to states with which the relationship is complicated, “and not always only to talk to those with whom one agrees,” said Maas.
“This is especially true for Russia.”
Maas went on to say that he was glad that the Kremlin had apparently accepted President Joe Biden’s offer to talk and that the two sides had already discussed a date and place for a US-Russian summit.
“Ultimately, nobody can have an interest in permanent provocations and confrontations turning into serious disputes, especially not us in Europe.”
When asked if he agreed with Biden’s remark that Putin was a murderer, Maas replied: “I have not said it yet, and I do not intend to do it.”
Regarding the Navalny case, Maas said the question should be asked whether tougher measures would improve Navalny’s situation. “I don’t think so. I think the opposite will be the case.”
One had to act responsibly and could not “just chase after those who always demand the toughest sanctions,” said Maas.
Maas emphasized that the EU had imposed sanctions on Russia twice in the past few weeks because of the Navalny case. Even after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which violated international law, economic sanctions were imposed back in 2014, which have been extended every six months since.
Photo by Olaf Kosinsky/Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)