President Vladimir Putin: The French President and the German Chancellor are planning to come for talks. What are your thoughts in this respect?
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: We are preparing the documents. The political agenda for the talks will be very full and will include the question of what our three countries are doing together with regard to reforming the OSCE. France and Germany took very seriously the documents resulting from the CIS summit meeting of July 3, on the need to return the organisation to its original principles, and they expressed a readiness to hold expert consultations with us to examine together how this can be done. We in turn are drawing up what will be a sort of appeal from the interested countries to the whole OSCE organisation in the aim of using constructive change to make the organisation genuinely effective and responsive to the interests of all its members.
Vladimir Putin: We also have expanded intergovernmental consultations with Germany planned for September.
Sergei Lavrov: We are preparing for these consultations too and we have every reason to expect that they will see the conclusion of an agreement on the fight against international terrorism, which will be in addition to the agreements that already exist between Russia and Germany in this area.
We are also preparing agreements on youth exchanges, so here too we will see concrete results, and then there will also be the working consultations between ten ministers from each side.
Vladimir Putin: Finally, there is the most acute problem today in international life – the situation in Iraq. We are aware of the many difficulties there. Sooner or later, however, all wars give way to peace and then comes the need to get peaceful life back on the rails.
In this respect, do you think that the Iraqi leadership would be interested in cooperating with us in providing training for specialists? I am thinking here above all of teachers, medical personnel and rescuers. What would be the reaction from our partners in Iraq to a proposal of this kind?
Sergei Lavrov: I think they would be interested. When the Iraqi Foreign Minister visited in July, we expressed our readiness in general terms to provide this kind of assistance and he said that Iraq is interested and that they will put together their proposals.
Training programmes are already underway for specialists in the non-humanities disciplines. LUKoil, for example, is helping to train Iraqi oil sector personnel. As for civilian professions, we, on your instructions, will remind the Iraqi side once again that we are ready to begin this work and that we are also ready to make stipends available for students.