President of Russia Vladimir Putin: How do I address you now – Mr President or Doctor Sarkozy? You now hold the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of our respectable higher education institution, MGIMO [Moscow State Institute of International Relations], and I want to congratulate you on that. I understand that your lecture there has made a strong impression on the audience, and not just on those who were present in the hall.
I am very happy to see you – it’s been a long time, a whole year. Many events have taken place over that period – in Europe, in the world, and in our bilateral relations. I am very happy to see you and have this opportunity to discuss all these problems.
Nicolas Sarkozy (retranslated): Mr President, I see that information updates are getting fast to Moscow.
Vladimir Putin: The profession obliges.
Nicolas Sarkozy: Mr President, I am very happy to visit Moscow again. As you might have noticed, many events took place, but you know what my earnest conviction is: the world needs Russia – Russia and Europe are bound to work together.
Despite the fact that sometimes there were differences between us – between our countries – but when we spoke with you, we were always able to make the right compromise. And I do not understand how you can make a compromise if you do not discuss the problem and do not talk to your opponent. We need to talk to each other, listen to each other and what’s most important – we need to respect each other. I believe that these are the main development patterns for Russia and France: there is a need for mutual respect.
Vladimir Putin: True, we did manage to do a lot of things.
Nicolas Sarkozy: I think that no one felt betrayed or humiliated then.
I am not saying that the compromise we made was ideal in itself but we managed to avoid a confrontation, and I am sure that we need to pull out of this confrontation period that we are going through.