Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Moscow today meeting with both outgoing president Vladimir Putin and president-elect Dmitry Medvedev. Chancellor Merkel has become the first Western leader to meet with the next Russian president. Quite predictably, she has invited Medvedev to visit Germany.
Merkel’s invitation is the second offer to Medvedev to visit a major Western European country; the first came from the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Both Germany and France are important Russia’s trade partners. Germany and Russia are cooperating on building the $7.3B Nord Stream undersea pipeline to carry about 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually from the northwestern Russian port of Vyborg to the northern German port of Greifswald. The pipeline will bypass current routes through Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine.
Is it by coincidence that at this week’s meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels — in the run-up to the NATO summit in Bucharest — both France and Germany spoke against inviting Ukraine and Georgia to join the union?
It looks like Medvedev has already score some foreign affairs points even before being sworn to the office.