President Vladimir Putin: Mr Minister, allow me to wish you a warm welcome.
The relations between our two countries are showing steady development. I will not say a lot about the economic component of our relations, but I cannot but mention the event that has brought you to Russia, namely, the launch of operations at the Yuzhnorussky deposit. The deposit’s oil and gas reserves will provide needed and reliable supplies for the European and above all the German economy.
The real importance is not even so much in the volumes that this deposit will supply but in the quality of relations between partners. The exchange of assets and increased trust in each other is precisely the kind of development in the energy sector that our European partners have been looking for, and overall, Russia is also interested in this kind of cooperation provided that it takes into account each other’s interests. I am very pleased that it is precisely with our German partners that we have taken our cooperation to this level. I know that you met with your Russian counterpart yesterday in Paris, where you worked together on the situation in the Middle East and on other current issues on the international agenda.
I have been able to speak with the Chancellor twice on the telephone just recently, the latest occasion being just yesterday in fact.
Overall, our relations are developing at every level and in all different areas.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier: Thank you very much, Mr President. I know that you have an official visit [from the Greek Prime Minister] today, and so I am all the more grateful that you have found the time to discuss these matters, which we have discussed on past occasions.
I think the event you referred to (the cooperation between Gazprom and BASF-Wintershall) is indeed important and marks another step forward in our countries’ economic relations. What you said is true indeed: this opportunity to participate in Russian business is very important for German companies. First it was E.ON that got the opportunity to enter the energy market, and now Wintershall has the chance to take part in developing a deposit.
This event has also given me the opportunity to meet with an old acquaintance, Mr Dmitry Medvedev, with whom I worked together closely during 2000–2003, when he was Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office. We had a chance to talk today, including about Russia’s future political development.
Vladimir Putin: Germany will again take the lead in establishing personal relations with the Russian leadership.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier: We also discussed the economy, of course, and culture, education, scientific exchanges – areas of cooperation that could be equally beneficial for both countries.