President Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, friends, good afternoon. We are very happy to see you here in Moscow.
I would like to begin by introducing my colleagues on this side of the table, or perhaps they will introduce themselves. Go ahead, Vladimir Ivanovich [Yakunin].
Vladimir Yakunin: President of Russian Railways Vladimir Ivanovich Yakunin.
Vladimir Titov: Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Gennadyevich Titov.
Sergei Priokhodko: Presidential Aide Prikhodko.
Sergei Naryshkin: Chief-of-Staff of the Government Office and Deputy Prime Minister Naryshkin.
Vladimir Putin: He is also chairman of our Intergovernmental Commission [the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation].
Vyacheslav Dzirkaln: Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Vyacheslav Dzirkaln.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, I would once again like to wish you a warm welcome to Moscow.
We are happy with the level of our relations and the pace at which they are developing. This applies to our political cooperation and also, above all, to our economic cooperation.
At the top of our economic agenda is, of course, cooperation in the energy sector – in oil, gas and nuclear energy. Russia supplies oil and gas to Slovakia and your country is one of the major transit countries. I know that economic actors are currently examining the possibility of expanding cooperation in these sectors. The same applies to nuclear energy. Not only do we supply nuclear fuel, but we are also ready to take part in modernising nuclear facilities. Advanced technology and transport are also important sectors in which we work together, and these are also sectors in which we could carry out major new common European projects together.
In short, we have plenty on the agenda. I am sure that your visit will help us to find productive and substantial solutions for our business issues.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico: Mr President, we are grateful for this welcome and we sense the very good atmosphere here.
Although I already introduced to you the members of my delegation, Mr President, I will present them again, for everyone here: Lubomir Vazny, minister of transport, post and telecommunications; Mr Jahnatek, economy minister; Jan Kubis, minister of foreign affairs; and Frantisek Kasicki, minister of defence. I am also happy that our ambassador to Moscow [A. Cisar], who is very active and has made a great contribution to developing our relations, is also part of the delegation and is here with us today. Also present is Mr Estok, head of protocol and international affairs adviser.
Mr President, you have set out very clearly the list of issues we should focus on today. I think we will also examine a number of international issues.
Slovakia is a member of the European Union, and it is only natural that we should be interested in hearing the opinions and views of the Russian Federation as a strategic partner of the European Union. The Republic of Slovakia and the Russian Federation have no sensitive and unresolved issues between them. This enables us to concentrate on positive and mutually beneficial economic cooperation. I fully agree with you, Mr President, that it is in the energy sector that our cooperation looks set to be most intensive. I am sure that the Slovak [gas] company could sign a very good contract in 2009, given that the current contract expires in 2008.
Gas prices have a big impact on the social and economic situation in our country. I would like to repeat what I said during the tensions with Belarus, namely, that we consider Russia to be a reliable partner for our future gas supplies.
As for oil, Slovakia receives almost all of its oil, 98 percent, to be exact, from Russia, and here the situation is better because our contract in this sector is valid until 2014.