President Vladimir Putin: Mikhail Nikolayevich,
It gives me great pleasure to see you here in St Petersburg. I hope that your work here over these two days will be interesting and useful.
I just met with the President of Tajikistan. I would like to repeat the same words I said to him. A lot of people have come to the St Petersburg Economic Forum – more than 2,000. They include people from companies in North America, Europe and Asia. Large delegations have arrived from China and other Asian countries.
The forum’s organisers have done everything possible to ensure that the meetings will be useful and interesting. I hope that our Georgian colleagues will also find it not just interesting but also useful to have this contact with their Russian partners, and I hope that your colleagues will also find here partners from other countries. This is a good opportunity in general for taking a broader look at cooperation [of the countries] of the entire post-Soviet area not just with the Russian Federation but also with our partners from further afield.
We are very pleased to see you and I wish you welcome.
I know that, unfortunately, Tbilisi is currently facing electricity supply problems, or at least, this is what the media has been reporting. I hope that Georgia’s energy officials will manage to fix this problem as quickly as possible.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili: Vladimir Vladimirovich, I am also very happy to have this opportunity to meet. Regarding our bilateral relations, I think there are many interesting and important issues to address. We followed with great interest your statements and your participation in the G8 summit, and in previous summits that have taken place.
Georgia, naturally, has not just always been ready to engage in beneficial dialogue with Russia, but is simply obliged to pursue such a dialogue. The relations between our countries should be as close and friendly as possible, and this is the main strategic principle guiding our approach to relations with Russia. We seek close and friendly relations based on respect, on the principle of territorial integrity, and on recognition of each other’s interests.
I am sure that there are many issues on which we can make progress and for which we can find solutions.
Vladimir Putin: I did not doubt that you would take note of our position in the discussions on the fundamental principles of international law. These discussions were above all about the Balkans, but as you know, our position has always been based on the need to respect the fundamental principle of respect for countries’ territorial integrity. Unfortunately, attempts are being made to dilute these fundamental principles and this, of course, creates problems for us in the post-Soviet area. I think that you and I will have the chance to come back to this matter and discuss this issue during our talks now and tomorrow.