President of South Africa Jacob Zuma also took part in the meeting.
Earlier in the day, Mr Medvedev had a discussion with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Secretary General, Permanent representatives of the countries on the NATO- Russia Council, I want to start by welcoming you all to Sochi. This is the first time that Sochi is hosting a meeting of the NATO- Russia Council, and I hope it will provide the right atmosphere. The weather is good, and our relations should be sunny too.
I think we are all happy with the overall results achieved. I have been told that the NATO- Russia Council meeting that just ended was overall quite productive, and I hope we have made progress on the issues that both Russia and the NATO countries have on their agendas at the moment.
Of course, the Lisbon summit last November opened a unique window of opportunity. The decisions made on that occasion were, overall, very positive indeed in our view, because it is precisely these sorts of decisions that give us the base we need for building a strategic partnership on the principles of indivisible security, mutual trust, transparency, and predictability. This will boost global security and it is in the interests and hopes of everyone in our countries.
At its Lisbon summit, NATO approved its new strategic concept, which emphasises the development of partnership relations with other countries and organisations around the world. We think this is important in order to build a more solid, stable, and secure world. We discussed just now with President Zuma one of the complicated issues before us at the moment – the situation in Libya. I think this is precisely the kind of situation in which we can make efforts together to achieve results and work as partners to discuss the most difficult questions and look for solutions.
Nato Secretary GeNERAL ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: Mr President, on behalf of everyone here this afternoon, I wish to thank you for your hospitality and for the very warm welcome that has been extended to us.
I also wish to thank you for your personal commitment to NATO-Russia cooperation. With your support we created the spirit of Lisbon when we met at summit level last November. We agreed on the importance of a strong NATO-Russia partnership, we agreed that the NATO-Russia Council would be the place to discuss all issues at all times, and we agreed not to let the disagreements that we do have stand in our way. Your presence in Sochi today is another important signal of your commitment and with your continued support I’m confident that our discussions this afternoon will help strengthen our cooperation. In the spirit of Lisbon I expect them to be frank, fruitful and friendly.
NATO and Russia face many of the same security challenges. We are working to defeat terrorism on land, at sea and in the air. We are fighting piracy side by side. We are investing in efforts to stabilise Afghanistan and counter the deadly drugs trade. And since we face the same threats, cooperation between us is the only choice that makes sense. It is the best path towards a strategic partnership and we must press forward on this path.
Our meeting will allow us to review how far we have come between Lisbon and Sochi and it will give us the momentum to move further forward. Because I believe there’s still much more we can do, especially in the area of missile defence. We know that at least 30 countries around the world have or are trying to acquire missile technology, so we need to develop our defences.
Mr President, we all agree on the importance of taking forward our partnership, and the path to partnership is built on common ground. By working together we can build on that common ground and we should also seek to break new ground. With your continued support we can make that happen so that all our nations stand on safe ground. This is an opportunity we must seize together today. Thank you.