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Germany, Russia Seek to Improve Relations
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German leaders met visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday, aiming at improving relations between the two countries.

The two sides repeated their commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to th e crisis over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said their countries would try every diplomatic avenue to ensure Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons.

Both said it was now up Iran to return to the negotiating table and meet UN security council demands on its nuclear program.

Lavrov, who arrived here on Wednesday, also met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, focusing on preparations for a summit scheduled to take place on April 26-27 in the Russian city of Tomsk.

The two sides agree that business relations and more science and education exchanges should be put high on the agenda of the summit, according to a German government spokesman.

During their meeting, Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also discussed the elections in Belarus.

The spokesman quoted Lavrov as saying that the March 19 poll had "expressed the Belarus people's will."

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko was reelected as the president on March 19 in the country's presidential election, securing a third term in office.

However, Germany and other western countries claimed that the elections are not fair and threatened to impose sanctions on Belarus. But Russia says the election is fair and democratic and the results should be accepted.

(Xinhua News Agency April 7, 2006)

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