President Vladimir Putin: Our relations have been developing positively, especially over recent years. After stagnating for many years our trade and economic ties have finally started moving forward and trade between our two countries showed a 20-percent increase over the first half of this year.
I am very sorry that you had to cancel your private visit to St. Petersburg and the planned business visit to Russian shipbuilding companies. We realise that this is due to the submarine accident that took place. We understand this and express our condolences over the tragic loss of one of the submarine’s crewmen, but we hope that this will not be your last visit to Russia and that you will have the future opportunity to get to know Russia better and in greater depth than has been possible during this visit.
Prime Minister Paul Martin: First of all, I would like to say how happy I am to have the opportunity of meeting with you once again and continuing the fruitful discussions that we began in the United States. I am also very sorry not to be able to go to St. Petersburg as I know that it is your favourite city. If you get the opportunity, I can recommend that you visit a Canadian exhibition taking place there.
Your country has been hit by a number of tragic events over recent months and, on behalf of the Canadian people, I would like to express our very deepest sympathy with the Russian people at this difficult time.
I was very pleased with this morning’s meeting with the Russian business community, also attended by Canadian businessmen. It is very clear that your country offers unique opportunities for both our countries together and for each of our countries individually. Canadian business, the Canadian business community, would like to invest in Russia in a whole range of different areas. I would like to say that Canadian business circles, Canadian companies are very interested in coming to Russia and making use of any opportunity to invest here.
Finally, I recently sent you a letter congratulating you on your birthday.