Source AP ©

Putin develops economic ties between Russia and Germany's Bavaria

President Vladimir Putin met with a top German politician on Thursday for talks on trade and economic ties between Russia and Bavaria, one of Germany's most prosperous states.

Bavarian governor Edmund Stoiber congratulated Putin on the International Olympic Committee's decision to award the 2014 Winter Games to the Black Sea city of Sochi.

"It is the success of Russia and it is your personal success," Stoiber told him.

Putin, who had returned several hours earlier from a trip to Guatemala for the Olympic Committee's announcement, praised the Bavarian economy and mistakenly called Stoiber "prime minister."

"Mr. prime minister, we are watching attentively to what is happening in Bavaria, especially in the economic sphere; And this is understandable because Bavarian firms are our long-term, reliable partners," he said.

Putin said trade turnover between Bavaria and Russia had reached US$10 billion, and he praised Stoiber, saying his government managed a a budget surplus in 2006 for the first time in 30 years.

"This is the first of the German lands to have achieved this and this is evidence of the focused and efficient policy of your government..." Putin said.

In addition to being governor of Bavaria, Stoiber is leader of its dominant Christian Social Union, the sister party to Christian Democratic Union of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He was narrowly defeated by then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder when he made a run of his own for the chancellorship in the 2002 election.

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