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Germany, Russia sign multibillion-dollar deals

 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel smile during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural Mountains city o...
 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak to each other during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural Mo...
 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel smile during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural Mountains city o...
 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak to each other during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural Mo...
 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to each other during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural M...
 German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, gestures as she walks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during their an annual meeting in the Ural Mounta...
 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk during their an annual meeting in the Ural Mountains city of  Yeka...
 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands during a press conference upon their talks in the Ural Mount...
 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, foreground right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, foreground left, walk during their an annual meeting in the...
 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands after a press conference during talks in the Ural Mountains ...

Russia German

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel smile during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural Mountains city o...

Russia German

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak to each other during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural Mo...

Russia German

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel smile during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural Mountains city o...

Russia German

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak to each other during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural Mo...

APTOPIX Russia German

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to each other during an annual Russia German forum in the Ural M...

Russia German

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, gestures as she walks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during their an annual meeting in the Ural Mounta...

Russia German

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk during their an annual meeting in the Ural Mountains city of Yeka...

Russia German

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands during a press conference upon their talks in the Ural Mount...

Russia German

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, foreground right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, foreground left, walk during their an annual meeting in the...

Russia German

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands after a press conference during talks in the Ural Mountains ...

The leaders of Russia and Germany met Thursday for talks and oversaw the signing of nearly a dozen deals between companies from the two countries worth billions of dollars.
In one of them, German engineering company Siemens AG contracted with Russian Railways for (EURO)2.2 billion ($2.8 billion) for more than 200 new regional trains for Russia.
Siemens also announced a joint venture with two Russian partners to produce wind turbines for Russia as the country pushes to diversify its energy sector away from oil and gas.
The company also agreed to take part in the Skolkovo complex, a state project to try to build a Russian analog of Silicon Valley in a Moscow suburb.
Siemens earlier sold eight trains to Russian Railways that are now running between Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia's first high-speed train route. The German company will also supply 54 commuter trains for the Winter Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Germany is Russia's major trading partner with trade between the two countries topping $15 billion in the first quarter of the year.
Addressing an annual German-Russian forum, President Dmitry Medvedev invited German firms to invest in Russian companies that last month were taken off the list of strategic enterprises and now have no caps on foreign investments and shareholding. They include airports and factories ranging from paper mills to train car makers.
Medvedev also called on Germany, an EU member, to push the European Union to scrap visas for Russia if Moscow lifts restrictions for EU nationals.
Germany could streamline the procedures on the bilateral level, Chancellor Angela Merkel said and voiced the commitment on eventually eliminating visas.
"The urgency of this issue has been demonstrated at today's forum," she said. "Some bilateral projects cannot be implemented with the current visa regime."
Merkel pressed Medvedev on the issue of human rights in Russia at the forum. Thursday marks the first anniversary of the murder of prominent Chechen human rights activist Nataliya Estemirova. The activist with the prominent Memorial group was abducted in Chechnya and found shot to death in the neighboring Ingushetia region.
"It is important that Russia continues to investigate that murder," she said. "In order to feel security in the legal system it's important that such high-profile and public cases be successfully solved."
Medvedev said Russian investigators have identified the killer and are looking for the perpetrators of the July 2009 murder. "The investigation goes on at full throttle," he said. "There are never quick results in this kind of crimes, unless the killer is caught red-handed."
Estemirova's colleagues with the Memorial rights group, however, criticized the investigation and claimed that the killing was ascribed to Islamic militant named Alkhazur Bashayev who was killed four months after Estemirova's murder.
Memorial chairman Oleg Orlov said last week that investigators concluded Bashayev was Estemirova's killer after finding her photograph in a hide-out where Bashayev and other militants had allegedly stashed their ammunition.
Orlov had claimed earlier that Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov bore responsibility for Estemirova's murder.
Medvedev reacted in an uncharacteristically brash manner to a German reporter's question about an impending law which is expected to further expand the powers of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, a successor to the KGB.
"The law on the FSB is our domestic bill. Every country has the right to improve its legislation," he retorted.
Observers earlier said that the law is likely to be pushed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former intelligence officer, rather than by Medvedev. But Medvedev insisted the law was drafted following his personal instructions.
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Associated Press Writer Mansur Mirovalev contributed to this report from Moscow


Updated : 2021-04-19 06:04 GMT+08:00