President Vladimir Putin: I would like to begin by wishing you a warm welcome to St Petersburg.
As we had discussed, after you completed your work at the World Bank you have continued to work actively, in a different but very important area for us all.
I want to say that everything you did during the years when you headed the World Bank has not been in vain. The Russian economy has felt a positive effect from cooperation with the Bank and the conditions are now in place for this cooperation to continue in the future.
We are very glad that as respected a person as yourself, who knows well the situation in the world and has done a great deal to overcome poverty in the world, has been chosen to contribute to the development of the Palestinian territories and improve the situation in the Middle East in general.
I recently visited Israel and the Middle East. I was in Cairo and in Ramallah. I must say that your appointment has been positively received everywhere. Our Palestinian colleagues were very positive about the news of your appointment. They really hope that you will use all your experience and political influence to improve the situation in the Palestinian territories.
As an active participant in the “Quartet” of mediators for achieving a settlement, Russia will provide you with the most direct assistance.
James Wolfenson (translated from Russian): Thank you for meeting with me once again. The last ten years of working with Russia have been a wonderful experience for me, especially working with you as President.
I am looking forward to when we begin work together again on the Middle East. It is a great honour for me to represent you in the “Quartet” of mediators. We were also very pleased that one of the Russian representatives was with us in Jerusalem.
I hope that we will soon be able to exchange views on the future of the Palestinian territories and that we will be able to discuss the latest events in the light of your recent visit to the Middle East.
Russia plays a very important role. This is true of this year and also next year, when you will be heading the G-8. I am therefore very much looking forward to exchanging views on these issues.