President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Madam Director-General, colleagues, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to Moscow.
This year marks the 65th anniversary of Russia's UNESCO membership. I am aware that a number of events have been planned in this regard. This is your second visit to Russia as the Director-General of UNESCO, but this time it will last three days, and tomorrow you are going to Tatarstan, one of Russia’s regions.
I am pleased to note that relations between Russia and UNESCO are steadily developing. We believe that UNESCO has always been a key international intergovernmental organisation working in the sphere of cultural relations.
For our part, we have always been supportive of the organisation, and we plan to remain so in the future. We are always at your disposal. At the same time, we are counting on your help and support, including methodological support, as we strive to implement our national plans and plans for Russia-UNESCO cooperation.
It is a great pleasure to have you here. Welcome.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay: (in Russian) Thank you for the reception in Russia. I am very happy to see you.
(Retranslated) I am very happy to be in Russia once again. I am glad that this visit is taking place at what is a critical time for UNESCO in my opinion.
First of all, allow me to express gratitude to you for the key role that Russia has been playing in UNESCO’s activities for 65 years now. It continues to play a meaningful role today as well.
I would also like to say that, at a time when international relations are occasionally tense, UNESCO offers an extremely constructive and useful platform for the cooperation of states that are capable of engaging in open dialogue with a view to reaching our goals in education, science, communication and culture. All this is being done to achieve peace and harmony between countries.
Since I assumed office a little more than a year ago, we have been trying to focus UNESCO’s activities on these three areas – education, science and culture – in order to reduce the political tensions that sometimes mar UNESCO’s efforts and image. I hope to be able to move in this direction, modernising our organisation, launching new initiatives and organising our activities in accordance with our mandate with the support of UNESCO member-countries, including Russia.