President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Madam President, dear Tarja,
It is a great pleasure to welcome the Finnish delegation to the Kremlin. This visit is special, because it is a state visit, which is a symbol of a friendly, mutually beneficial and very promising partnership.
This year and last year we marked a number of very important historical dates that bind our nations. I remember well my state visit to Finland and I would like to thank you once again for its excellent organisation. This year we have also held several events, and I visited Finland. Our contacts are regular by virtue of the fact that we are close partners and neighbours.
I wrote several lines on Twitter today about the talks with the President of Finland yesterday and today. It struck me that immediately, in just five minutes, I received several comments. One of them said: ”Why? You met only recently.” This serves to emphasise our intense contacts and excellent relations, and the importance of those relations is manifested in our working meetings, official talks and state visits, which always constitute the most important meetings in relations between two countries.
After Moscow, your agenda includes a visit to Kazan, because traditionally you travel to several cities. This is an excellent opportunity to become better acquainted with the country.
I wish you a successful visit and hope for productive talks.
President of Finland Tarja Halonen (retranslated): Mr President, dear Dmitry,
The Finnish press also comments on our frequent meetings. The media asks why it is necessary to hold more formal or festive events and activities, and that testifies to the established nature of our relations.
This is how I answer such questions: a state visit is an event that takes place between two states; it is a meeting between two heads of state.
A large number of other meetings and talks usually take place on the sidelines of state visits: meetings of ministers, representatives of business communities, and so on. The practical agenda of state visits is planned over a long time and in particular, through just such formal and informal meetings and talks, while the state visits sum up the results that had been achieved.
The likelihood that we will meet again in the coming months or years is increased by the fact that there will certainly be other consultations at other levels, though they may not receive as much public attention as our talks today. One can certainly say that the relations between our countries are developing very well, extremely well.
Dmitry Medvedev: I completely agree.