Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
I am very pleased to welcome you to Moscow. I would like to say that relations between Russia and France have not only attained their well-known intensive nature over the least few years, but they have also changed in terms of quality.
The structure, within which you are working today, is, of course, very important and it also serves as additional proof of the qualitative changes in our relations. This structure was set up on the initiative of the French president and we attach great significance to this mechanism.
However, this is only a reflection of the changes in our relations. The most important thing here is that the level of trust between our two countries has increased. This has come about because our views on a whole range of issues, not only confined to the bilateral agenda, but also international relations, virtually coincide. And the main point is our common approaches to the future of global security, our adherence to the norms of international law and the key role of the United Nations.
As an element of trust, we shall soon hold small-scale, but entirely significant naval exercises in the Sea of Norway.
This is the first time that our Armed Forces will have such an experience, as we have not conducted anything similar, especially with the use of our submarine fleet, with a NATO member-nation.
I think that this is very important. This is the first step, the first practical step, towards building a global security system based on the principle of a multi-polar world.
We have a great many issues within the framework of Greater Europe. We attentively follow the processes of European integration.
Russia is seeking its place in the changing world. And France’s position, France’s support in these processes, is extremely important for us. In this context, the two countries’ foreign and defence ministries will obviously play the leading role.
Therefore, without any exaggeration whatsoever, I say that we are looking at the work of this quartet with great interest and hope. I would personally like to wish you success.