German Foreign Minister Calls for Better Russia Relations

PHOTO by Alexei Druzhinin / TASS

German Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel is interested in maintaining positive relations with Moscow, TASS reported, quoting the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"The head of the ministry is interested in keeping relations with Russia as good and productive as possible," said Martin Schaefer, an official representative of Germany’s foreign ministry. However, Schaefer did not specify how exactly Gabriel planned to achieve this.

Gabriel formerly acted as Germany’s Minister of Economics but was transferred to his latest position today. His predecessor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, left the foreign ministry to focus on his presidential campaign. Steinmeier has been tapped as the presidential candidate for the Social Democratic Party and CDU/CSU.

Gabriel is well known for his pro-Palestine position, referring to Israel as an "apartheid regime” in 2012. Gabriel also took a moderate approach towards the conflict in eastern Ukraine, expressing that they needed "to resolve the Ukrainian problem, not bring Russia to its knees." He has also suggested weakening sanctions against Russia in return for its cooperation in Syria and has asked Saudi Arabia to stop its support of radical militias.