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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Prime Minister, I am pleased to have this meeting with you on the summit sidelines.
I would like us to share our views on the development of Russian-New Zealand relations, which are moving forward very successfully. In recent years there has been a series of events that, hopefully, will have a positive effect on our relationship.
You and I have just been discussing the issues of free trade. That is the next step in our ties. This initiative, which has our support now, will, I hope, establish a new trade regime between our countries, between New Zealand and the customs area shared by the Russian Federation.
Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key: Mr President, it’s nice to see you again. We’ve had very warm discussions both at the APEC meetings and at the summit earlier today.
This is a very important day for Russia-New Zealand relations. Arguably in the 65 years since we enjoyed diplomatic relations this is maybe our most important [meeting]. Today we embark on negotiations for a tripartite free trade agreement between New Zealand and Russia. I think for both countries this is a very exciting opportunity. There will of course be lots of work for our officials and our negotiators but in the end hopefully we will have an agreement which is a first for Russia and from New Zealand’s point of view a very important link to draw our countries closer together.
Dmitry Medvedev: While these issues are being addressed at APEC summits only in general terms, New Zealand and Russia have moved on to the practical realisation of these agreements.