President Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues,
First of all, I would like to thank you for the invitation.
Our visit is taking place as Bulgaria celebrates the 130th anniversary of its liberation from the Ottoman yoke and the restoration of its statehood. As you just said before during the talks in narrow format, this visit has an important and substantial agenda. A large number of agreements have been drafted that will lay the foundations for developing relations between Russia and Bulgaria for decades to come.
I cannot but mention in this respect our projects in the energy sector. I am very pleased to see the successful conclusion of talks on setting up the project company for the Burgas-Alexandropoulis pipeline project and the signature of the intergovernmental agreement on the Southern Stream project, which will deliver greater volumes of gas to Bulgaria itself and onwards, via Bulgarian territory, to the rest of Europe. It is for this reason that our delegation includes the first deputy prime minister of the Russian Government, Mr Dmitry Medvedev, who also holds the post of chairman of Gazprom’s board of directors.
I know that Bulgaria is interested in signing long-term gas supply contracts and of course you, the Bulgarian Prime Minister and Mr Medvedev will have the opportunity to discuss all of these matters at a bilateral meeting. But this is not the only focus of our attention. Nuclear energy, diversification of our economic relations, and humanitarian contacts are also issues to which you paid particular attention, and I fully agree with you.