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Trade set to dominate talks as German president begins Russia tour

German President Christian Wulff begins his trip to Russia on Tuesday with a meeting with his counterpart Dimitry Medvedev. Talks are expected to focus on economic ties.

German President Christian Wulff

Wulff is traveling with 16 delegates from German businesses

German President Christian Wulff begins a four-day state visit to Russia on Tuesday, where he is scheduled to meet with President Dimitry Medvedev in Moscow. The trip marks the first state visit to Russia for a German president in eight years.

In talks with Medvedev, Wulff intends to focus on economic ties between Russia and Germany. A business delegation of 16 is traveling with the president, including representatives from German firms Fresenius, Siemens, Bosch and Eon Ruhrgas.

As part of the talks, Russia is likely to push for more access to the German markets for its businesses. "There is a disproportion. German [firms] have invested a total of about $20 billion (14.5 billion euros) in Russia - Russian [firms] in Germany have invested less," said Medvedev.

"We want to actively participate in the German economy - we have the desire and the money," he added.

The German president plans to meet with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin later in the day, and has also scheduled talks with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Later in the week, he will travel north to St. Petersburg, the Tver region and the city of Ulyanovsk, 700 kilometers (435 miles) southeast of Moscow, where he will visit German businesses.

Author: Martin Kuebler (AFP/dpa)
Editor: Rob Turner

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