President Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr Prime Minister,
Allow me to wish you a warm welcome.
Right at the start of our meeting I would like to say that over recent years the relations between our two countries have been developing along very positive lines. There are no political obstacles in the way of developing our relations in all areas – our political, economic and humanitarian relations.
I think the results are now speaking for themselves. Our trade turnover rose by 25 percent last year and reached a figure of $4.5 billion, and there was a 37-percent increase in exports of Hungarian goods to Russia.
We share many common interests – in the energy sector, in high technology and in logistics. Many Russian companies are showing ever increasing interest in investing in the Hungarian economy, having in mind above all, of course, the favourable conditions for working together.
I know that you had a busy work schedule yesterday and you met with our prime minister and signed documents. We can already say now that your visit is going very successfully.
I am very pleased to have this opportunity to meet with you and discuss all the bilateral and international issues that are of mutual interest to us.
Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany: Mr President,
First of all, thank you for this opportunity to meet with you. This, the first visit by a Hungarian Prime Minister to Russia since Hungary became a member of the European Union, is intended to show that “more Europe” for Hungary does not mean “less Russia”. Russia remains one of Hungary’s most important strategic partners, a partner with whom we want to build relations on a pragmatic basis. But underlying this pragmatism are memories and feelings that we want to respect and cultivate. In this context I think it important to say that this year, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of victory over Fascism, Hungary has not forgotten and is grateful for the role that the Soviet Union and the Red Army played in liberating our country from Fascism. The Hungarian government will never allow this to become the subject of unscrupulous debate.
Mr President, I would like to thank you and, in your person, thank the people of the Soviet Union for the part they played in our liberation.
Of course, what is most important for us in the end is not the past but the present and how the situation is developing on a daily basis. People place most importance on how their businesses are doing and how our humanitarian, cultural and scientific ties are developing.
As for me, people will measure the success or failure of my policies by how they will live tomorrow. We have nothing to be ashamed of in our bilateral relations – we have managed to almost double our bilateral trade in not quite three years.
Yesterday, I visited the Prodexpo exhibition and I asked Hungarian businessmen present there what obstacles stand in the way of further developing our bilateral ties. Not a single one of them complained of hindrance from either the Russian or Hungarian governments. They all said that everything was fine and they are getting on with their business.
As far as I recall, during Mr Medgyessy’s visit three years ago, we sat at this very table and the Russian side raised a number of questions. If you have no objection, I would like to raise a couple of questions today. Thank you for this meeting.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, thank you very much for your words on the events that took place 60 years ago and the attention the Hungarian government and public pays to preserving the memory of the Soviet Army soldiers who gave their lives during the liberation of Hungary from Nazism. We are expecting the Hungarian President in Moscow on May 9. I would also like to say that we also remember other pages in our shared history. We have not forgotten 1956. I am sure that we can develop our relations together in such a way as to ensure that this never happens again. Regarding the future, I fully share your optimism over prospects for developing our relations.