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German leader Merkel to visit Moscow on March 8

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Moscow on March 8 for talks with outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin and his successor Dmitry Medvedev, a Kremlin spokesman said on Tuesday.

First Deputy Prime Minister Medvedev won just over 70% of votes on Sunday, and will be inaugurated as president, replacing Putin, on May 7. Merkel was quoted on Monday as wishing Medvedev “good luck and success with the difficult task ahead.” Germany is Russia’s largest European trading partner. Russian-German trade in the last six years has increased three-fold, reaching $50 billion in 2007. Merkel will be arriving in Moscow on International Women’s Day, celebrated as a national holiday in Russia and several ex-Soviet countries. (