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Russia's Rosneft Elects German Ex-chancellor Schroeder as Chairman

Source: Reuters 9/29/2017, Location: Asia

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder faced further criticism at home after he was elected as chairman of Russia's biggest oil producer Rosneft on Friday.

Schroeder, a Social Democrat who led Germany from 1998 to 2005, prompted widespread criticism in his homeland in August when he was nominated to Rosneft's board, given Western sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis and Chancellor Angela Merkel's frosty relations with the Kremlin.

Shareholders in state-controlled Rosneft, which is subject to the sanctions, elected Schroeder to its board at a meeting on Friday, and shortly afterwards Schroeder told a news briefing he was pleased to have been chosen to be chairman.

"Schroeder is a reputed and renowned politician, who has persistently advocated strategic cooperation between Germany, Europe and Russia," Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin told the company's shareholders before the vote.

"He is striving to improve Germany's ties with Russia."

Schroeder calls Russian President Vladimir Putin his friend and has criticised moves to impose sanctions on Russia.

"I really regret that there are sanctions," Schroeder said after the vote.

"The talks must be about easing the sanctions," he added through an interpreter. "I am not among those who support these sanctions."

"It is reasonable for the entire world to have a stable Russia from an economic and political point of view."

Germany's mass circulation Bild newspaper, which had dubbed Schroeder "Gazprom Gerhard", reported the news of his election with the headline: "Now he definitively belongs to Putin."

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