V.Putin: Mr President, Mr Honorary President.
We are happy to see a representative of one of Europe’s national Olympic organisations as the new IOC president. The Russian National Olympic Committee rightfully considers itself an integral part of the European Olympic family.
We know your attitude to Russia and Russian athletes, and your exceptional objectivity. We remember that your contacts with Russian athletes greatly impressed us in 1980.
I think your decision to hold the 2008 Olympics in Beijing is a sign of continuity of IOC policy. Despite all the heated debates that had preceded the decision, all the unresolved questions and challenges posed by this difficult choice, the International Olympic Committee wisely considered how suitable and convenient each of the bidding cities would be, and whether or not the people of the bidding country were ready to host the Olympics and to become involved in the Olympic movement at all.
Depolitisation of the Olympic movement plays an important role in forging dialogue between peoples.
It has become a good tradition to elect the next IOC President in Moscow, and we suggest it should be continued in the future. We wish Moscow would become as near and dear to you, Mr President, as it has always been for Mr Samaranch.