Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues,
Allow me to welcome you to Moscow. I know that you spent two days in St. Petersburg and completed some very useful work as part of the Days of Switzerland underway there.
Unfortunately, the format of the last meeting of European heads of state did not allow us to invite you to St. Petersburg for the Russia-European Union summit, as Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and is not part of the Baltic Sea region. To be honest, we simply could not find a way to ensure your presence at that meeting, but I am very pleased that you have nonetheless found a way to come to St. Petersburg.
I must say that relations between our two countries have recently been developing positively. Over the last year, our trade turnover doubled. There is nothing that could get in the way of further developing our relations, and there are no major problems between us, except for one, of which you are well aware. That is the loss of our plane over Lake Bodin. I believe that neither you nor I can afford to let this problem fade from sight amidst legal intricacies.
I know that certain progress has recently been made with regard to this issue. Meetings have taken place, including with the participation of Russian representatives. We very much hope that work on this issue will continue in this way, that a solution will be found and that all will be resolved as it would be if it were not a Russian plane involved but the plane of any other national carrier.
Mr President, I know that you personally are in favour of rapidly resolving this problem and for our part, we will do everything needed to ensure that a speedy solution is found.
We have good prospects for developing our bilateral ties, and not just our economic ties, but humanitarian contact as well. I would like to repeat that we very much hope that your visit, Mr President, will contribute much towards developing these ties.