The Elders was founded in 2007 by former South African President Nelson Mandela as a group of prominent global leaders with experience in peaceful settlement of conflicts and protecting human rights in crisis situations.
The group currently has 12 members, headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Elders help to resolve the world’s most serious and complicated problems, using their own personal influence and reputation in the international community.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,
Let me wish you a warm welcome to Moscow. I know that Moscow is not the only place where you meet with current state leaders.
I must say that there is a need for the active position you take in international affairs, especially now, when we are all witnesses to the complicated situation our world is in at present.
Sadly, the world has not become any simpler since it was when you were active in political life. I am not trying to say that this is your legacy, but simply that our world really is complex and diverse and has very many conflict situations. I will not list all these conflicts now.
In any case, it would be a great pleasure and also useful for me to hear your views on a number of key issues. This is so for me, and for my colleagues, Foreign Minister [Sergei] Lavrov, who I am sure you all know well, and my aide, Mr Ushakov.