President Putin praised the results of the Russian-German summit. He also pointed serious headway made on international political issues and on the economic front.
He recalled that over the past two years he had had 11 meetings with Chancellor Schroeder, while trade between the two countries had risen by 80%.
Among the advance steps the President singled out the problem of transferable roubles. He stressed that the so-called debt of the former USSR to the former GDR was not a debt at all, but a trade balance. He recalled that the initially high amounts were not true to fact, since no account was taken of many factors, in particular the prices at which the USSR made energy deliveries to the GDR. Ultimately, he said, it was decided that Russia would pay Germany a total of 500 million euros in compensation for the debt. The payments would be made in the course of three years: 350 million euros in the first year, and then 75 million each during the next two years.
At the same time the President noted that Russia was expecting Germany to meet it half-way on some of the current problems, specifically concerning former Soviet property abroad.
The President also told the news conference that Russia and Germany saw eye to eye on developments in Iraq.
President Putin also replied to a question about Russian proposals on coordination of efforts with NATO within the “Twenty” concept, which would allow common problems to be discussed on an equal footing.