Merkel says expressed concerns to Putin on Russian dissent laws

MOSCOW Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:54am EST

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MOSCOW Nov 16 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on a visit to Moscow on Friday that she had expressed her concern to President Vladimir Putin about a series of Russian laws being pushed by his party in parliament that could stifle dissent.

"We spoke about the situation of civil society in Russia and I expressed my concern about plans for certain laws," Merkel said at a joint news conference with Putin at the Kremlin.

"I think we need to speak openly and honestly about these issues. This dialogue is a precondition for understanding each other and identifying the conflicts."