SAINT PETERSBURG (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel was to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev here Thursday as the major trading partners moved to overcome strains exacerbated by the recent war in Georgia.
The leaders, accompanied by senior ministers, were also to discuss global financial turmoil and Iran 's controversial nuclear programme, a senior German government official said.
Germany is widely considered Russia 's closest ally in Western Europe, but ties frayed when Russian troops rolled into Georgia in August after Tbilisi tried to reclaim control of the Moscow -backed rebel province South Ossetia.
Merkel, who is scheduled to arrive in Russia 's former imperial capital at 0845 GMT, has been sharply critical of Russia 's actions in the Caucasus republic.
But she has stood out in the European Union by pressing for the lines of communication with Moscow to remain
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