President Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like once again to welcome Ms. Clarkson, the first Governor-General of Canada to visit Russia. I am certain that this visit will be an important point in the development of Russian-Canadian cooperation. This cooperation is developing steadily and dynamically, and constantly encompassing new areas.
We hold permanent political dialogue and cooperate closely on the international arena. We exchange experience in building federation and programmes to support the native peoples of the North. Russia and Canada successfully carry out joint projects in the areas of training staff and ecology.
But we still have a large and as-yet unrealized potential – this is above all the economic sphere. And so the issue of widening bilateral relations, new paths and possibilities, and attracting a greater number of participants became the main topic of talks today.
One of the main topics of our discussion was the “northern dimension” in Russian-Canadian ties. Cooperation in the Far North and in the Arctic is a natural and extremely necessary vector of our interaction. And in this sphere, every country has its own truly unique experience. I think that combining our capabilities and our accumulated scientific and technical knowledge will make it possible to increase economic returns from the northern territories. It will also help to solve the social tasks of the North, and at the same time preserve the unique and very vulnerable nature there.
We talked a lot today about cooperation in the humanities. A whole series of projects in this sphere have already been started. They are focused on studying languages, holding joint museum projects and scientific developments. In connection with this, I can give as an example the activity of the Canadian Friends of the Hermitage Foundation.
On her visit, Ms. Clarkson is accompanied by representatives of the creative intelligentsia, and cultural and scientific figures of Canada. I am sure that during her work in Russia she will establish new contacts with her Russian colleagues.
I would like to thank our Canadian colleagues for open and very substantial dialogue, and also for the friendly atmosphere, which was an important part of our talks.