Merkel and Putin revive dialogue after Trump scraps Iran deal

- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BERLIN

May 17, 2018-Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday to discuss the explosive global issues of Iran, Syria and Ukraine amid a deepening US-European crisis of confidence.

This year’s first face-to-face talks between the veteran leaders, who speak each others’ languages, comes as European powers are scrambling to preserve the Iran deal which US President Donald Trump abandoned last week.

For Merkel, the main objective in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi will be to seek pragmatic dialogue with Putin, despite their yawning political differences, in the quest to preserve the landmark 2015 agreement.

Time is running out to save the accord under which Iran pledged not to build a nuclear bomb in return for relief from punishing sanctions.

While Trump has threatened to punish allies which continue to do business with the Islamic republic, Iran has demanded European guarantees to respect the pact and warned it could revive its atomic programme, sparking fears of more turmoil in the conflict-torn region.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, on a whirlwind global diplomatic tour, Tuesday welcomed as “a good start” talks with his French, British and German counterparts in Brussels but insisted on continued economic benefits for Iran.

Putin is also due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in late May.

Published: 17-05-2018 08:36

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