Putin to discuss prospect of continuing Petersburg Dialogue forum with Merkel in Milan

President Vladimir Putin plans to discuss the prospect of continuing the Petersburg Dialogue forum with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan.

President Vladimir Putin plans to discuss the prospect of continuing the Petersburg Dialogue forum with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan.

Foreign nongovernmental organizations' refusal to attend this forum was discussed on Tuesday during Putin's meeting with members of the Presidential Human Rights Council.

"When countries maintain good and friendly relations, one can just drop into a bar and have a glass of beer, and chat about this and that. But when the situation is tense and complicated, dialogue is needed most of all," Council head Mikhail Fedotov said.

"How else can we talk if not in dialogue?" he said.

"I will tell the German chancellor about this. We will see each other and talk in Milan in a few days," Putin said.

Putin declined to dispute the German side's initiative to put off the Petersburg Dialogue forum and proposed that its future be decided by representatives of civil society in Russia and Germany.

"The logic of the German side is that in the current setting, amid our rifts with Europe, it would be wise to put off the Petersburg Dialogue in order to save it and not to harm this process. Perhaps there is sense in this. If you have a different opinion you could discuss it," Putin told the Council members.

The Council earlier complained to Putin that a decision had been made to indefinitely put off the Petersburg Dialogue Russian-German forum, scheduled for late September.

"The Petersburg Dialogue was conceived as a venue for interaction between the two countries' civil societies, which is a way to find solutions to the current problems. But this is what the logic of our German partners is like," Putin said.

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