12:00 AM, November 17, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 17, 2012

Putin, Merkel seek to boost ties

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Afp, Moscow

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday with the two sides seeking to soothe tensions over Berlin's recent criticism of Moscow's rights record.
On the eve of the visit, German lawmakers from Merkel's coalition urged the government to push for more democracy in Russia as they expressed concern over a crackdown on civil society since Putin's return to the Kremlin in May.
German government sources said on Thursday that Berlin would emphasise that a thriving free civil society was a chance for Russia rather than a threat.

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