Following the meeting, the presidents of Russia and Finland made press statements and answered journalists' questions.
Vladimir Putin and Sauli Niinisto also took part in a friendly hockey match.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
It is a pleasure to take this opportunity on the sidelines of the St Petersburg Economic Forum to talk with you in more detail about our bilateral relations.
Yesterday, we discussed our common problems together with the forum participants: global economic problems, the problems that Europe faces, and Russia too. Today, I want to focus specifically on our bilateral relations.
Thank you for accepting the invitation to meet and discuss our bilateral relations in this informal setting.
Overall, we have a high assessment of the progress in our bilateral relations over these last years. Russia is still Finland’s biggest trade partner and this makes us very happy. We have accomplished a lot already, but there is still much more to do.
I am very pleased to have this chance to meet with you and I wish you welcome.
President of Finland Sauli Niinisto (translated from Russian): Thank you very much, Mr President. I am very happy to have received this invitation, and I was also very happy with what I saw and heard yesterday at the forum.
There were a lot of Finnish representatives at the forum, and this is just further evidence of the very close relations between our countries, especially in the economy.
You spoke yesterday about the global economic situation. The global situation has an impact on our countries and their relations too, and highlights just how important our bilateral relations are, given that there is so much unpredictability in the world today.
We are consistent in our efforts to build up the ties between our countries. I am pleased to hear that you and my predecessor [Tarja Halonen] established good ties, and I would be happy to continue this same course.
We have the chance to discuss many different matters now, and it will be a great pleasure to do so. I am also very happy with this wonderful venue for our meeting. The landscapes here are really quite beautiful, and you have even put on the good weather for us.
Vladimir Putin: Please pass on my warmest greetings to Ms Halonen. I think she did a great deal to develop our countries’ relations. From what I have heard, she has found her place now in the UN, and we will work together to help her in her new job.