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Libya and Iran top agenda in Merkel-Putin meeting

The confrontation between Washington and Tehran over the US killing of a top general and turmoil in Libya are set to dominate talks in Moscow on Saturday between the leaders of Russia and Germany.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on Saturday afternoon — her first visit since May 2018 when the two leaders met at Sochi on the Black Sea.

Putin visited Syria and Turkey this week and is keen to stress his role as a regional powerbroker.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who will attend the talks, said a “key reason” for the meeting was the escalating crisis in Libya, where Germany is acting as a mediator in a conflict he has warned could become a “second Syria”.

“We are involving Europe and those players who are influential there, for that we need Russia,” Maas told Germany’s NTV television. “For us, it’s not too far to fly to Moscow to discuss that with Putin.”

Merkel is to invite Putin to a Berlin conference on Libya later this month, diplomatic sources told AFP.

Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a ceasefire in Libya on Wednesday, although they are seen as supporting opposing sides in the conflict.

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