The dialogue with Russia, including on problem issues, should continue and needs to be intensified, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview with the Saarbrucker Zeitung newspaper on Saturday.

“We have always said that we want to maintain dialogue with Russia in order to solve major international conflicts,” he said. “To that end, we need to clearly identify problem issues, otherwise no progress will be made.”

Maas visited Moscow in May and met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The German official said the crisis in Ukraine was among issues raised during the meeting.

“As you can see, our approach produces unequivocal results – while some are talking about dialogue, I take care to have it intensified again,” he said.

The minister evaded the question on whether he was going to visit the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, saying that the participation of German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was more important than his attendance.

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