• Germany's news in English

Steinmeier says West must engage Russia

AFP · 1 Dec 2008, 12:07

Published: 01 Dec 2008 12:07 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We can better influence Russia's development with an active foreign policy rather than with debates about containment and sanctions," Steinmeier told the Handelsblatt business newspaper.

But Steinmeier, seen here as a leading advocate of partnership with Russia, also said the West should not renounce its principles in dealing with Moscow.

"A confident democracy like ours must not live in fear of having to compromise on values when engaging in political deals with partners who do not meet the standards of our western European democracies," he said.

He also suggested German industry could benefit from Russia's need to modernize its energy sector. And he welcomed the prospect of a new start in US-Russian relations.

As of next year, "we shall have two presidents whose thinking is no longer shaped by the Cold War," he said speaking of US president-elect Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

He also welcomed the discussions on a new security treaty in Europe which are due to start later this week in Helskinki between foreign ministers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Russia has called for a new, legally binding security pact in Europe to replace what it says are outdated arms control treaties from the Cold War and to deal with crises such as the brief war in Georgia in August.

On bids by Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO, Steinmeier stressed that while both countries must be offered the prospect of membership, the time was not ripe for change.

"At the present stage, I can see no reason to move away from the decisions" taken at the Bucharest NATO summit in April, he said.

Story continues below…

Georgia and Ukraine have been promised membership but only after a number of conditions have been met. Both countries had hoped to win fast-track inclusion into the Membership Action Plan (MAP), a stepping stone to full NATO membership, at a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels this week.

But US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already acknowledged that such plans are off the table for the moment.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd