FRANKFURT, July 18 (Xinhua) -- German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Thursday stressed the need to have dialogue with Russia.

"Even though we have fundamentally different views on many topics at current stage, dialogue with Russia remains necessary," he said in Bonn, Germany, where he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Maas and Lavrov jointly opened the 18th annual session of the Petersburg Dialogue, a bilateral civil society forum dedicated to promoting German-Russian relations, which was established in 2001 at the initiative and under the patronage of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Germany's then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Maas and Lavrov's attendance marked the first time since 2012 that high-ranking government officials from both countries have taken part in the Petersburg Dialogue.

Maas said that although Germany and Russia have different positions on eastern Ukraine and the incorporation of Crimea into Russian territory, the two countries need to "work together on the political level" to find solutions, adding that the "constructive participation" of Russia was necessary to solve international issues, German media reported.

Both foreign ministers also discussed the Iran nuclear issue, in which Maars deems Russia plays a significant role.

"Germany is working together with its European partners for de-escalation in the region," noted a statement released by German foreign ministry after the meeting.

The German foreign minister called on all parties involved to act together to make Iran comply fully with the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.