Opportunities for jointly developing transport infrastructure, and building up humanitarian contacts were also discussed.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President,
I am glad to have this opportunity to continue our dialogue. We began the discussion on the current international situation and our bilateral contacts during your visit for the celebration of the anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War. I would like to thank you again for that. We agreed then to continue our discussion on a wide range of issues.
Today the atmosphere is very positive here in St Petersburg. As you said yourself, this is not only because of good weather but also because we can see the beginning of economic recovery despite the tensions that exist in a number of regions and in Europe. More people are feeling optimistic now than some time ago.
I hope that this will have a positive impact on the relations between Russia and Macedonia. Of course, a great deal depends on the success and consistency of decisions adopted now by politicians in some European countries, and the extent to which they will be able to follow the recommendations made by the European Commission. This is a difficult subject but in this situation bilateral relations have great importance because they help us to tackle a wide variety of challenges we are facing in the global economy.
I have looked at the statistics and in the past several months there has been an increase in our bilateral trade which has started to pick up after the crisis. I hope this increase will continue and will not be due solely to the growth in energy prices. Of course, I am ready to discuss energy projects and everything else.
Thank you once again for attending the Forum. I hope you didn’t find the first meeting tedious and will have a chance to do some sightseeing in St Petersburg.
President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov (as translated into Russian): Mr President,
I am very satisfied and pleased that we meet again so soon after our recent meeting. I am particularly glad that our meeting is taking place here, in your home city, which is hosting such an exciting event as the International Economic Forum.
We saw today the influential players attending the Forum, who are thinking about ways to improve the global situation and to make it develop in a positive way. For a small country like Macedonia, it is particularly important to be aware of global development trends, and we follow them with great attention.
I would like to tell you how pleased I am with the outcome of our meetings with Gazprom and LUKOIL. I think the agreement we are going to sign tomorrow on the clearing debt with be a stimulus to expanding our economic ties and will open up new horizons.
I am particularly pleased that Gazprom representatives have agreed to include us in the South Stream project. This will give Macedonia an opportunity to obtain energy at lower prices and to stabilise the situation in the country.
LUKOIL has been operating in Macedonia for many years already, and our people have been able to see for themselves that it is a reliable brand. Companies in our country try to follow the standard set by LUKOIL and Gazprom. I am happy to say that the economy is developing dynamically and we can see growth. I think to a large extent credit for this should go to our ambassadors. I was particularly happy during my last visit that Macedonian wine was on the menu at one of the restaurants we visited.
Dmitry Medvedev: Can you let me have the address of that restaurant? I’d like to try it as well. (Laughter.)
Mr President, Gazprom management was very impressed by their meeting with you. The chairman of the board spent the whole evening telling me all about it. He didn’t let me get on with preparing my speech for today.