President Vladimir Putin: Dear colleagues, first of all I would like to welcome you to this, Russia’s westernmost region. Our meeting does not quite coincide with the 750th anniversary of the city of Kaliningrad as the official celebrations took place yesterday, but the general celebratory mood in the city can still be felt and I very much hope that this will help create the right atmosphere for our meeting today.
It is a great pleasure for me to see here today the President of France and the German Chancellor and to have this opportunity to exchange views on the next steps to take in building the relations between our countries and between Russia and the European Union.
It is very important for us to hear your views on the nature relations between Russia and the European Union will take in the light of the recent events concerning the European Constitution.
Of course, we are all also very interested in exchanging views on the question of reforming the United Nations, on the Middle East, developments in Iran, including all the issues concerning the Iranian nuclear programme, and North Korea.
For my part, I have had a good number of meetings recently with some of our colleagues. I have only just received a visit from the President of the People’s Republic of China. I would like to pass on his greetings, for a start, and I am also ready to inform you during our talks on the issues he and I discussed. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which includes Russia, China and all the Central Asian countries, will hold a summit very soon. We have invited India, Pakistan and Iran to take part as observers. In the run up to this summit I would also like to discuss with you the different issues concerning this part of the world.
Such then is the preliminary agenda that our aides have agreed on for this meeting.
Once again, I would like to say how pleased I am to have this chance to meet with you and discuss all the different subjects I mentioned.
President of France Jacques Chirac: First of all, I would like to express to the Russian President the happiness I feel, and that I am sure Gerhard Schroeder also feels, at being here with him in this especially friendly atmosphere, an atmosphere marked also by the anniversary celebrations and by the honour accorded to Kant in giving his name to Kaliningrad’s university.
The relations between Russia and the European Union are of great importance for balance in the world. We were all very pleased, after the serious discussions that took place, at the success of the last EU-Russia summit at which we adopted the four “roadmaps” and four cooperation projects that will strengthen relations between Russia and the European Union. I consider these relations to be of immense importance for balance in the world.
I also place great importance on strengthening the relations between Russia and China. We can see that relations with the European Union are growing stronger. We are pleased to note the active part Russia is playing in Iran’s peaceful development and pleased to see that our views on non-proliferation issues coincide. I would like to thank President Putin from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity we have had to meet.
Federal Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder: Thank you very much. I am very much touched by this invitation and it is a great honour for me, as everyone would understand.
Kaliningrad’s history has always been connected to Germany. It is a history that means a lot to us. I am very happy to have been invited here, in particular to take part in the ceremony conferring the name of Immanuel Kant on Kaliningrad University. This is an important event for my fellow citizens. Mr President, we are very grateful for this noble gesture. Our history has known immensely difficult periods and I am grateful for this invitation, the second after I was invited to the sixtieth anniversary of victory over the Nazi dictatorship. I thank you and I am very pleased to be present here today when this event of great importance for us is taking place.
I agree with the two Presidents, with what they have said. I can add only the following: that cooperation between Russia and the European Union on the four common spaces — the economy, security and law – are also very important for the Kaliningrad region. The better the relations between Russia and the European Union, the closer they will be. And we would like them to be very, very close. The closer our relations, the greater the benefit for Kaliningrad region. And I think that it is very important to stress this at this moment of such great historic significance.