Merkel rejects talk of new Cold War with Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that relations with Russia are not returning to a Cold War freeze, according to an interview with ZDF public television.

Merkel rejects talk of new Cold War with Russia
Merkel visiting Medvedev on August 15. Photo: DPA

Asked if a “freeze” was in the offing, Merkel replied: “No, absolutely not.” Referring to her relationship with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, she added: “We have absolutely the same philosophy, which is to talk, to talk honestly.”

Merkel rejected the notion that history was “repeating itself” during the interview on Sunday evening, underlining that “the Cold War was a completely different situation, marked by the restriction of liberties for one part of Europe.”

Nevertheless, the chancellor admitted to concern that Moscow has yet to comply fully with the terms of the French EU-brokered six-point peace plan following the conflict in Georgia, as understood by a critical West.

“We could be looking at a breach if things remain as they are,” she said in reference to Russian checkpoints in areas such as the Black Sea port of Poti, which lie beyond the boundaries of the so-called buffer zone. But she added: “I trust Medvedev to apply the plan, we shouldn’t be disappointing one another, otherwise a legacy will remain.”

Merkel was adamant that Germany supports the candidacy of Georgia and another former Soviet republic, Ukraine, for NATO membership. “Russia has to understand that these are now free states,” she said, adding that NATO “is not a Cold War organization, but an alliance of the future.”

Germany has sought to soothe tensions with vocal European Union members who are ex-Warsaw Pact entities such as Poland or the Baltic states, with Merkel visiting both Russia and Georgia in support of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ceasefire plan.