Georgi Pirinsky: We especially value the fact that you have come to Bulgaria just as we prepare to celebrate the 130th anniversary of our country’s liberation from the Ottoman yoke. We are very pleased to have this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Russian people, in your person, for the unforgettable part in our country’s liberation played by Russian soldiers, who shed their blood in order to bring Bulgaria freedom.
I would also like to say how genuinely happy we are with the results of your visit. This is clearly a good example of a pragmatic approach based on genuine partnership.
You are well aware that one of Bulgaria’s greatest resources is its geographical location, and of course Bulgaria must use this resource as responsibly as possible.
I think that our countries face a number of challenges. Our citizens hope for a better life and social problems have become vitally important. In this respect, we in Bulgaria have much work to do in the upcoming period. I am sure that we can find solutions to these problems at the bilateral level too. The strategic agreements that we reached today will probably be of great importance.
These agreements concern cooperation in the social sphere, in healthcare and culture. In this respect, parliamentary groups from our respective parliaments can play an active facilitating role.
I also cannot overlook the part parliaments can play in economic life. In this respect, we are looking at how to develop our bilateral trade and are discussing investment issues, their current balance, and the prospects ahead.
Mr President, we will be celebrating this anniversary year on March 3, and you are aware that this is a special date for us. We would be happy to welcome to Bulgaria Mr Mironov, the speaker of the Federation Council.
I would like to say once more how pleased I am to have this opportunity to meet with you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I am very pleased to be able to meet with you and your colleagues.
As I have already said publicly, the relations between our countries are showing positive development in practically all the main areas, and this also includes ties between our parliaments.
Mr Mironov, the speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house, plans to come to Bulgaria at the beginning of March, and he will represent the Russian leadership at the official ceremonies marking the signature of the San Stefano Peace Treaty.
As you know, we have held very productive talks today. The agreements reached as a result of today’s work will undoubtedly be very important for developing not just our bilateral relations but for cooperation in Europe in general. In this context, it is extremely important for us to have the support of the parliament and the various parties represented there. We hope that the cooperation process will enjoy genuinely broad-based support in our countries and will be free of all political speculation.
In this respect, I very much hope that the plans for developing relations between civil society in our respective countries (which I spoke about today with the President, Mr Parvanov) will be carried out as quickly as possible. On our side, this work is being organised by Mr Draganov, a member of the Russian parliament. He is not only a member of our parliament but is also an ethnic Bulgarian. This gives him the best hand to play, as they say, and we will do everything we can to help him in his work.
There is another area in which we hope for active work between our two parliaments, and that is in establishing the legislative basis for our cooperation. In this respect, the importance of the parliaments’ work cannot be overestimated. There is quite a lot to be done in this area.
The Bulgarian parliament is a unicameral parliament, while we, with our federal system, have a bicameral parliament, but I want to assure you that both houses of the Russian parliament will work most actively and attentively on developing relations with the Bulgarian parliament.