President Putin: Mr President, allow me to wish you a warm welcome to Moscow. We are very pleased to have established such solid relations with the World Bank. It makes me personally very happy that we have built up such good and business-like personal relations.
Our relations with the World Bank are developing very positively and I think that the bank has made a very good contribution to developing market relations in Russia. Today we no longer require such large-scale financial support from outside. Indeed, as you know, we recently paid our debts to the International Monetary Fund ahead of schedule, paying $3.33 billion.
We are now holding talks with the Paris Club of Creditors on taking a similar step and reaching a similar decision. But we will go ahead with such a decision, of course, only if it is to our economic and financial advantage. Such decisions must be fair with respect to all the parties participating and we hope that you could have a positive influence on this process.
But we value our cooperation with the bank not only as a shareholder. We need the bank’s support today to help us develop our infrastructure, improve corporate governance and build better relations between the private sector and the state. We are ready to seek direct financing from the bank for particularly sensitive projects, projects that are important for the social sphere – the bank always offers advantageous conditions. I am thinking here of what we are doing in St Petersburg and what we are planning to do in Kazan and our plans and action to develop information technology.
Overall, it gives me great pleasure to see you. Welcome, Mr President. I think we will also have the opportunity to discuss our cooperation within the CIS. I know that the bank has been showing particular interest in this area of late.
President of The World Bank James Wolfenson (translation from Russian): Thank you, Mr President, for this opportunity to come and meet with you. Yes, indeed, money is not as useful an instrument today as it was several years ago. But our cooperation with you continues. Our cooperation remains very active, especially in the areas in which the World Bank has experience that it can share. As you said, this includes the area of reforms, information technology and other areas of global interest. We are continuing our cooperation with you.
Coming back to what you mentioned before, we are holding a number of meetings with representatives of your government to discuss technology issues. I know that you want to develop Russia’s potential and take it beyond the raw materials possibilities and resources that you have at your disposal.
Today we signed an agreement with your business community leaders. This agreement will enable small and medium-sized business representatives to make use of the opportunities that the work of the World Bank and other international organisations opens up.
We congratulate you on the economic progress you have achieved and we hope to continue our work together for many years to come. We do not measure our success by the amount of money the bank lends. It is very good that the bank has some wealthy clients.