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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin to Meet Merkel this Weekend

President Vladimir Putin will travel to Germany this Sunday for what should be his last official visit before he steps down as president next year.

Putin is to be accompanied by 13 ministers and senior officials for meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and government officials in the town of Wiesbaden, Kremlin spokesman Alexander Smirnov said Thursday.

A German government spokesman said by telephone from Berlin that Putin and Merkel would have dinner Sunday before attending a forum Monday.

Smirnov would not elaborate on which ministers would participate in the talks, but Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported that Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev and Education Minister Andrei Fursenko would be among them.

Lothar de Maiziere who heads the German committee of the Petersburg Dialogue said the forum should address common grounds between both countries. "Relations with Russia are more than just oil and gas," he said by phone.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were to arrive in Moscow late Thursday for two days of talks.