The President suggested a free exchange of opinions that would let the parties clarify their positions and make the meeting more informative.
Mr Putin urged to perceive Russia as a typical European country and to create joint structures to promote the unification of Europe. Speaking about the US presence in Europe, President Putin warned that it would be too dangerous and destructive to belittle the United States’ role.
He assured the audience that Russia would not keep out of the global counter-terrorist operation, but specified that such participation did not contemplate direct involvement in warfare in Afghanistan.
President Putin pointed to the similarity of situations in Chechnya and Afghanistan and stated that in his opinion it was no use denying the existence of contact between the Chechen militants and Afghan Talibs.
The meeting was attended by the heads of editorial staff of 16 major German mass media, including such established periodicals as Der Spiegel, Focus and Der Stern, newspapers Frankfurter Allgemeine, Die Welt and Handelsblatt, German radio broadcasting companies Deutschlandefunk and Deutsche Welle, as well as CDF TV channel.