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Putin to meet Merkel to talk about Iran, Ukraine and energy

AFP  |  Sochi 

Russian is set to meet German in the resort of today, as and make rare joint efforts to save the nuclear deal.

The pair's first face-to-face meeting in a year will take place less than a week before French is due to visit

The meeting will take place in Putin's residence and is expected to be dominated by US Donald Trump's decision to pull out from the agreement.

The fallout over the deal is a rare topic for rapprochement between and Moscow, whose relations are marred by disagreements over the conflict, Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and the subsequent war in

These tensions have only worsened in recent months following the of former Russian in Britain that led to an unprecedented wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats from Western countries.

As part of the historic 2015 Iran deal, agreed to curb its nuclear programme by pledging not to seek an atomic bomb in exchange for the lifting of some international sanctions.

The Europeans now want to avoid at all costs abandoning the deal and relaunching its programme to acquire a nuclear weapon. They also want to protect their economic interests in Iran, threatened by Washington's reintroduction of sanctions.

The Kremlin has in recent days increased its diplomatic efforts to try to maintain the agreement it described as "crucial for regional stability and for the stability of the entire world".

Merkel's visit comes ahead of Macron's trip to Saint Petersburg on May 24.

Putin and Merkel last met for bilateral talks in May 2017, also in

Putin, who worked as a agent in in the late 1980s, and Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, speak each other's languages.

Putin's said the meeting was important as it was the first since both were reelected.

"In the current situation it provides a great opportunity for them to synchronise their watches on the most pressing international and regional problems, of course Syria, of course Ukraine," Peskov told journalists ahead of the meeting.

has intervened militarily to support President regime in the Syrian conflict, who flew to Sochi to meet Putin on Thursday.

The Russian president said the "military success" in allowed for a large-scale "political process" leading to the withdrawal of foreign forces and the reconstruction of the country.

On May 12, Merkel expressed concern about the situation in Ukraine, where she said there are "violations of the truce every night and loss of life every day".

and Moscow, along with Paris, signed peace agreements in in 2015 that aimed to put an end to a conflict that has left more than 10,000 dead since it began in April 2014.

According to Moscow, the two leaders will try to organise a four-way meeting with the presidents of and to advance a possible UN peacekeeping meeting. The last summit between the four countries, known as the Normandy Quartet, was held in October 2016 and was inconclusive.

"There has been a considerable pause in the work and you can expect the issue will be discussed extensively," said Peskov.

Merkel and Putin are also expected to discuss the construction of a second underwater pipeline linking the two countries via the Baltic Sea, a project several EU countries oppose.

2 aims to double the capacity of 1 by the end of 2019, and allow more Russian gas to arrive directly to via the Baltic Sea, bypassing

reported Friday that the has increased pressure on to abandon the deal in exchange for avoiding a trade war.

"The situation is quite complicated given recent statements coming from Washington," said Peskov. "Of course that issue will have a big place on the agenda, you can be quite certain of that.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 19:30 IST