The Russian leader thanked the President of the Czech Republic for hosting the signing ceremony of a new Russian-US treaty on nuclear arms reduction in Prague.
Prospects for bilateral relations, particularly trade and economic cooperation, were among the subjects discussed at the meeting.
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Beginning of Meeting with Czech President Vaclav Klaus
PRESIDENT OF CZECH REPUBLIC VACLAV KLAUS (as translated): I am very pleased that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is in Prague for the first time, in Prague Castle, and that I can return the hospitality that I received last year during my visit to Moscow.
I am extremely happy that the presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation have chosen to sign a new strategic arms reduction treaty in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, and Prague Castle.
Among other things, this agreement is designed to defuse international tension which resurfaces in connection with terrorism.
Although I sent the President of Russia a letter of condolences following the deaths in the Moscow metro ten days ago, I think, however, that on my own behalf and on that of Czech citizens I must once again express my condolences concerning the loss of so many innocent lives.
I think that the developments we are witnessing in Czech-Russian relations are encouraging. In particular, they were facilitated by the Czech Republic’s presidency over the European Union last year, thanks to which we were able to meet in Khabarovsk for a Russia-EU summit. Our bilateral relations are also developing successfully, and I think that the positive development of our relations will continue in the future.
The global economic crisis has affected our countries and last year mutual trade declined significantly going down to 60 percent of what it was the previous year.
I hope that this will be a year in which we see negative numbers become positive. I want to say that we will talk with the President of Russia about this.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President,
I am very pleased to come to Prague and visit Prague Castle, as well as continue the discussions that we started last year.
Our contacts were close and intensive, both during the Czech Republic’s presidency over the EU and in bilateral meetings. And it seems to me that these were very useful talks.
And naturally I would like to thank you for having suggested that we sign the document that we just mentioned – a very important one which really does have a primordial influence on the overall situation regarding nuclear disarmament and general atmosphere on the planet – in the Czech Republic, in Prague.
Of course this will be a significant event, and once again I would like to thank you for supporting our initiative.
Such events occur only rarely, and what will happen tomorrow will as a matter of fact largely determine the processes of disarmament, cooperation, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the world in the years to come. It seems to me that this is very important both for Europe and for our entire planet.
Thank you for your words of condolences in connection with the bombings which recently hit Moscow. This is indeed a tragic ordeal. I received words of support from you and from other colleagues as well – this demonstrates that the international community stands united against terrorism and that such crimes are condemned by all civilized nations.
And naturally for our country as well this act has important consequences. We will continue the fight against terrorism using all the means at the government's disposal.
With regard to our bilateral relations, I think they are now at a very good level. We really suffered from the global financial crisis and are just coming out of the recessionary dive. Nevertheless, we managed to maintain a positive momentum despite the fact that trade actually dropped significantly.
We have various tools at our disposal with which I hope we can remedy this situation and develop trade and economic cooperation, restoring it to pre-crisis levels.
We need to work at this, and we need our governments and businesses to do so as well, and we need our countries and peoples to demonstrate their interest in these processes. I am confident that this interest is there.
Once again, Mr President, thank you for the invitation to visit Prague in order to hold bilateral talks and sign a new treaty on strategic offensive arms with our American colleagues.