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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia, Germany Desire Continuity in Relations




Russia's Foreign Ministry called on Monday for early contacts with Germany's new leaders after Gerhard Schr?der's election victory and expressed hope that relations would continue to be stable.


But President Boris Yeltsin kept silent on the election that ended the 16-year rule of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, his closest partner in the West, and brings to power a man who has questioned his ability to maintain stability in Russia.


The Foreign Ministry put a brave face on the situation, holding out hope for "good neighborliness, partnership and mutual trust" with its biggest single trading partner and creditor.


"In Moscow there is a firm mood for such cooperation, a will to establish direct regular contacts with the new German leadership without delay," a ministry statement said.


It said it was important to avoid any pause in cooperation between Germany and Russia while both countries were in the process of forming governments.


The only hint at the Kremlin reaction was an Interfax report that quoted a source as saying the Kremlin was sure relations would be largely unchanged.


The Kremlin silence reflected the unease caused by comments that Schr?der made during the campaign, which can hardly be considered the best way to put relations with Yeltsin on a good footing.


Asked on German television earlier this month if he thought Yeltsin should resign, Schr?der said: "I think that he can no longer provide sufficient stability as he did in recent years. But I don't want to offer public advice."


Schr?der said in a separate interview that Kohl's position before the election was as "precarious" as Yeltsin's and said the chancellor paid too much attention to Yeltsin personally.


"German-Russian relations have been focused far too much on Kohl's relations with Yeltsin and contacts to the reformers have been neglected in a criminal fashion," he said. "I would develop a much broader basis for German relations to Russia."


Those comments are certain to have irked Yeltsin, especially as he had a warm personal relationship with Kohl.


Schr?der's comments Monday were similar, though softened somewhat.


"We are striving for continuity in German-Russian relations," he said. "In the past they suffered too much from the one-dimensional friendship of Helmut Kohl and Boris Yeltsin. I don't want to criticize that, but I think German-Russian relations need a broader basis."