Published: Wed, March 21, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Buhari Congratulates Putin, Merkel on Their Re

Buhari Congratulates Putin, Merkel on Their Re

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he had a "great meeting" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. President Donald Trump came under fire in the US for congratulating Putin for his re-election this week, without raising issues such as USA election meddling or the poisoning.

Highlighting the priorities of her new "grand coalition" government with the Social Democrats, the chancellor put the emphasis on families and social security, saying: "Child poverty in a country as rich as Germany is a disgrace". Neither did she single out members of the government benches for reprimand - but her comment that "Islam has now become part of Germany" was a sharp rebuke to new Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU.

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"We have been too half-hearted for too long", she said, as she spoke out against "the gruesome acts of the Assad regime in eastern Ghouta while Russian Federation looks on".

Merkel's message came as Western leaders were slow to congratulate Putin's landslide win in Sunday's election at a time of growing tensions with Moscow.

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Varadkar said the backstop solution must "apply unless and until a workable alternative agreed solution is found".

"Today it's more important than ever to continue the dialogue with one another and to promote the relations between our states and our people", Merkel said in a March 19 statement addressed to Putin.

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