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Merkel, Medvedev Address Russian-German Forum

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for a signing ceremony after a round of German-Russian consultations in Hanover, Germany, July 19, 2011

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed a wide range of topics on the second and final day of an annual Russian-German forum in Hanover, Germany.

The German and Russian leaders spoke Tuesday about their countries' business ties and international issues, including the ongoing Libya conflict and Europe's debt crisis.

Ties between Russia and Germany are generally viewed as solid, but they promised to address their disagreements frankly as they try to strengthen business ties.

Berlin is one of Russia's biggest trading partners, and Merkel and Medvedev signed several business agreements, including a deal to send more Russian natural gas to Germany.

At a joint news conference, Merkel said a European Union summit Thursday will not yield a quick and comprehensive solution to deal with the Greek debt crisis.

Medvedev appeared to drop a hint about his future political plans and desire to remain Russia's president. He said he and Merkel agreed they would not be chairing the forum soon. Traditionally, the leaders of Russia and Germany meet and speak at the forum, but do not chair it.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.