Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr President!
I am very glad to meet you and to receive you in Moscow.
We have established very good relations with the World Bank and the World Bank Group in recent years. To a certain extent, this is to your predecessor's credit. And I very much hope that with your arrival, the positive dynamic that has developed over the last few years regarding cooperation with the bank will not undergo any changes. In general, I believe, the Bank has made almost 13,5 billion USD credit available for different projects, of which we have used eight billion. I consider cooperation with the Russian regions to be very productive. And as far I know, an opportunity to provide financial resources even without guarantees by the federal government is being studied. I think this is correct, namely because Russia's financial system shows a high level of stability.
And there are other projects, at the federal level. They are related to reforming housing and communal services in Russia and other very vital aspects for our economy and population.
We support the World Bank Group's efforts to solve difficult problems faced by a number of countries, especially the poorest ones. In connection with this, Mr President, I would like to draw your attention to Russia's efforts to support the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States which also require special attention from the international community. Finally, it has always been important for us to feel close to the Bank's experts who, indeed, have always been close to us and provided Russia with essential methodological assistance in solving questions related to Russia's economy and financial system.
Mr President, we are very glad to see you here. Welcome.
Paul Wolfowitz: (speaking Russian) I am also very glad. I like Russian very much, but I am going to speak a lot. (Switches to English) So I am going to speak in English.
I was telling friends that when I was a student I was studying mathematics, and my father who was also a mathematician said : “if you want to be a serious mathematician, you have to learn Russian”. So I studied Russian for two years, but that was a long time ago.
When we met in Scotland at Gleneagles, very briefly you said to me that by taking Mr Wolfensohn's position I had very big shoes to fill, and you're right. But fortunately, I have been close to him for a long time and I think I have a good idea of the things that he has been doing and I intend, especially here in Russia, to continue them. And I appreciate very much the opportunity in this short visit to not only hear from your officials but to visit some small schools and polyclincis outside Moscow to see with my own eyes what the World Bank can do in this country.
But right now I am particularly interested in discussing what we can do to help make sure that the Saint Petersburg [G8] summit is not only a big success for Russia but also a big success for the developing world and for the poorest people in the world, which is where our constituents are. I guess that this will be the first time that Russia hosts the G8 summit. We were outside today admiring the wonderful weather, the unusually wonderful weather here in Moscow in October. And people said that July in Saint Petersburg is guaranteed to be good weather and I hope that it will not be just good weather but a very good meeting.