President Vladimir Putin: Mr Secretary General, colleagues,
First of all, I would like to welcome you to Moscow.
Our cooperation is growing, and, as we see it, it is growing well. We are working together in practical areas of great importance for the international community, above all, in the fight against terrorism. We are continuing our cooperation in providing assistance to the NATO countries in Afghanistan. We are now taking part in your work in the Mediterranean Sea. We are also continuing our work together through our Emergency Situations ministries in order to respond to such events.
I would like to note, too, our political dialogue, which is taking place on a regular basis and at a high level.
We are very pleased to see you.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer: Thank you very much, Mr President.
It is a great pleasure for me, and also a great honour, to meet with you once again in the Kremlin. I would like simply to confirm your opening remarks. When I am asked about the objective of my visit to Russia, I always say, “the President invited me to come, of course, but the main reason is that I want to make a contribution to our relations”.
Russia is a great power, of course, and it has great responsibility in world affairs. Its presence in conflict settlement is absolutely essential. NATO, for its part, also plays an important role in building stability. You referred to Afghanistan, Mr President, but we are also involved in a number of other crisis situations, and so we think that it is very important to make a contribution to this work, and I think that this extends to Russia too. I also would like to note the great practical cooperation that we have.
Thank you very much for your hospitality.