President Putin said that after the Weimar round of consultations practically all areas of bilateral cooperation had got a new lease on life. He firmly believes that Russia and Germany can and must set themselves more ambitious and truly strategic goals. The Russian head of state said that the Federal Chancellor shared his position.
The President noted that the venue of the meeting was not accidental because the Urals region is known for its huge economic and scientific potential and many instances of joint projects. The Urals region stands a good chance of becoming a powerful regional centre of Russian-German business partnership, Mr Putin said.
In his closing remarks, Mr Putin described as unacceptable the demand of the European Commission regarding the use of the Russian gas pipeline system as a condition for admitting Russia to the WTO. That system had been built by the Soviet Union and only Russia could maintain it in a working condition, even the parts that were outside Russia.
The President stressed that the European Commission should have no illusions: the government is determined to keep its control over the gas pipeline system and the Gazprom company.
Mr Putin made an important statement on military and political issues. He said that if the practice of pre-emptive strikes continued to take root in the world, Russia would reserve the right to similar actions, although it is opposed to them in principle. He confirmed that Russia would continue to work to improve its defence systems, including in cooperation with the United States, and that such negotiations were already underway.
Based on the results of Russian-German consultations a number of documents were signed in the presence of the two heads of state. They include an inter-governmental agreement on the transit of military equipment and personnel through Russian territory in connection with the participation of the German armed forces in the efforts to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan; an agreement on assistance in the disposal of nuclear submarines decommissioned from the Russian navy; a joint statement on facilitation of travel for Russian and German citizens; a joint statement on the continuation of the programme on upgrading the skills of Russian managerial personnel; a memorandum of understanding between Russian Railways and Deutsche Bahn on cooperation in the field of passenger and cargo carriage; and an agreement on cooperation in the study of the Russian language in Germany and the German language in Russia.