German government spokesman: Merkel and Putin may meet on sidelines of World Cup Final

BERLIN Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:59am EDT

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a news conference after talks with Moldova's Prime Minister Iurie Leanca at the Chancellery in Berlin July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a news conference after talks with Moldova's Prime Minister Iurie Leanca at the Chancellery in Berlin July 10, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Peter

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel may hold brief talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin when both attend the soccer World Cup final in Brazil on Sunday, Merkel's spokesman said on Friday.

"It is certainly possible that there will be a meeting and a short conversation with President Putin, but due to the tight schedule it is unlikely this would be a comprehensive discussion. We have to wait and see," Steffen Seibert told a regular government press conference.

Merkel is traveling to Rio de Janeiro to see Germany play Argentina in the final, and Putin is attending because Russia will host the next World Cup in 2018. They have been in regular telephone contact over the Ukraine crisis, with Merkel urging Putin to use his influence over separatists in eastern Ukraine to help bring about a new ceasefire.

(Reporting by Alexandra Hudson and Annika Breidthardt, editing by John Stonestreet)

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