German Chancellor Angela Merkel still plans on meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina despite her delayed arrival.
Merkel’s arriving later than intended because a technical issue with her government plane forced her to change plans, but spokeswoman Martina Fietz said Friday she’ll still meet one-on-one with Putin on Saturday morning.
On Thursday, Merkel said she hoped to use the meeting to press Putin to deescalate tensions with Ukraine over the Russian seizure of three Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov.
Germany’s calling for the ships and sailors to be released, and is trying to help bring about a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is finally on her way to Argentina for the Group of 20 summit after a technical problem with her plane forced her to change plans and stay overnight in Bonn.
Merkel’s office says she and a small delegation, including the finance minister, took a different government plane to Madrid on Friday morning, and then boarded a commercial flight to Buenos Aires.
Merkel was en route Thursday night on an air force plane, but turned around over the Netherlands after the captain reported a technical problem.
The plane was diverted to the Cologne/Bonn airport and landed without incident.
The problem is being investigated but the air force says it appears to have been an electrical issue that could have affected the radio system and a fuel system.
Heads of state from the world’s leading economies were invited to the Group of 20 summit to discuss development, infrastructure and investment. As the gathering officially kicks off Friday, those themes seem like afterthoughts, overshadowed by contentious matters from the U.S.-China trade dispute to the conflict over Ukraine.
Also expected to loom large are tensions between longtime allies the United States and Europe, the gruesome slaying of a dissident Saudi journalist and how the Saudi crown prince who is alleged to have ordered the killing is received by world leaders.
The U.S., Canada and Mexico also are supposed to sign a trade deal replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement that was struck following months of tough negotiations that analysts say left a bitter taste among the partners.