Mr Fillon congratulated Mr Medvedev on his 44th birthday and thanked him for a warm welcome in Yaroslavl.
Francois Fillon arrived to Yaroslavl to take part in the Modern State and Global Security International Conference.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Prime Minister, it is a pleasure to meet you. I want to start by thanking you for coming to the conference today, for finding the time in your busy schedule to fly to Russia to attend this event. We value this and consider it a mark of respect for our country and for the ideas that we plan to discuss today.
Russia and France have very extensive ties that cover not just economic relations, though they are very important, but also a whole range of humanitarian projects, including such big projects as the Year of Russia in France and the Year of France in Russia, and also opportunities for developing tourism. In short, we are close partners and I think that we should do everything possible to build up these relations. Even during the crisis period it is very important to meet from time to time and discuss our joint proposals for overcoming the difficulties we face. We have a tradition of such meetings and hope to continue this practice.
Once more, I wish you welcome, Mr Prime Minister.
Prime Minister of France Francois Fillon (as translated into Russian): Mr President, first of all, I want to wish you all the best on your birthday and thank you for the reception.
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you.
Francois Fillon: I want to say what a great pleasure it was to receive you in Evian during the World Policy Conference 2008 that we organised. And it was indeed a very good idea you had to organise a reciprocal conference on the state’s role in Yaroslavl.
All around the world, whether in France, Russia, the USA, wherever people face a crisis situation, the question always comes up as to what role the state and the markets can play in finding a solution. I am pleased that we are here together to reflect on the role the state can play in resolving the problems facing the global economy.
With the Year of Russia in France and the Year of France in Russia coming up soon, I also wanted to discuss the role that France and Russia play, in particular the role that France believes Russia could play in the world.
It is my conviction that Russia, with its wealth, rich history and cultural contribution to world heritage, has an important part to play. I would like to see Europe give its support by confirming it in our relations and in the rules that govern our relations.
I think there are many issues on which our views coincide – the summit in Pittsburgh, for example, which will take place in a few days time, and also the situation in the Middle East. I will be happy to discuss all of these matters with you.