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    GERMAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS OF STRATEGIC PURPORT: FISCHER

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 12, (RIA NOVOSTI) - German-Russian relations have a strategic importance, and Germany has put into the foreground its contacts with Russia, and the latter's with the European Union as a whole, said Joschka Fischer, Germany's federal Minister of Foreign Affairs. He and Igor Ivanov, his Russian counterpart, were addressing a news conference, following Kremlin negotiations with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

    Herr Fischer described the talks as extremely detailed and outspoken. Both Parties are vitally interested in ever closer contacts, and are to settle promptly and with mutual well-wishing whatever problems that may arise. The negotiators willingly agreed on that point, the German visitor said to the media.

    While at the negotiation table, President Putin offered him a detailed analysis of domestic political developments in Russia, said Joschka Fischer. He also highlighted their dynamic debates on the Chechen situation.

    The minister gave President Putin an account of his concerns for human rights and transparency of federal actions in Chechnya.

    They discussed many issues of bilateral contacts, ethnic minorities' problems in an expanding European Union, and Caucasian regional developments. Priority belonged to the Iraqi issue as the negotiators went over to global developments.

    They pointed out shared interests and opinions on many matters. "We were friendly and outspoken even when the conversation concerned items on which we disagreed," remarked the visitor.

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