President Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr Prime Minister, dear colleagues!
We are very glad that you have come to Moscow.
For my part, I remember how warmly we have been received in Poland. In 2002, I was there on an official visit. In 2005, too, I was in Poland in connection with events related to Auschwitz, when we met to honour the victims of World War II and our joint struggle against nazism.
We are very pleased, Mr Prime Minister, that you have managed to come to Moscow. And I want to say that since recently my colleagues and I have also been ready to undertake a similar journey to Warsaw.
Still we found the proposal made by some of our Polish colleagues to meet in a third country to be somewhat exotic.
Despite all the problems in our bilateral relations – and of course we do have problems — I don’t think we need to overdramatise them. In fact, they are more like routine issues.
Growth in trade proves that the quality of our business relations and economic cooperation continues to be very high. Last year’s trade was at record levels, more than 17 billion dollars. Poland is still our most important trading partner in Europe, and in the top ten among our major trading partners. And Russia, as far as we know, is Poland’s second largest trade and economic partner after the Federal Republic of Germany. Growth trends in trade continue to develop.
I wish to assure you, Mr Prime Minister, that the problems that have arisen in our relations in recent years have not been caused by any desire to harm our partners. We have not politicised them, and they were dictated by our desire to protect our own economic interests. Moreover, I believe that the restoration of normal business cooperation and committed partnership dialogue will enable us to find ways of sorting out and resolving these problems. And I am sure that, even in the course of today's discussions, the reasons for the positions we have taken on various issues will become clearer. These are sometimes not directly related to Poland, but rather to the broader question of our relations with the EU as a whole. This is what makes agriculture, for example, the most acute and politicised issue in recent times.
You understand perfectly well, Mr Prime Minister, that if on one side there are substantial agricultural subsidies and these products enter our market, we must get together at the negotiating table to consider how to minimise the negative consequences for our economy and our agriculture. There is no need to look for some sort of anti-Polish attitude in our actions. It simply requires open discussion concerning the partnership and a search for compromise solutions. We are interested in improving relations with Poland. We want to improve these relations and fully intend to improve relations with our Polish partners.
In this connection our cultural cooperation is very important. We know that last year the Russian cultural events held in Poland were a great success. We shall do everything in our power to make sure the corresponding events are carried out in the Russian Federation at the same high level. We know that we have many friends in Poland. I assure you, Mr Prime Minister, Poland has as many friends in Russia. Welcome.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk: Thank you very much, Mr President, for inviting us and for your kind words! We expected this sort of greeting, because we have come to Moscow in a similar spirit. I am very pleased that you, Mr President, and the other members of the leadership of the Russian Federation have responded so quickly to the signs that in Poland, both myself personally and on the part of my government, there is a desire to improve Polish-Russian relations.
Mr President, the Poles have a feeling of real accomplishment, based on the conviction that we have made valuable use of a priceless gift, our freedom. Both Poles and Russians know that the greatest treasure is human energy, energy that comes from the people.
I want to say to you, Mr President, that the talks that I have had the privilege to hold today with Prime Minister Zubkov and [First Deputy Pime Minister] Mr Medvedev, show that both parties are fed up with the chill in our relations. These talks proved that we can calmly discuss various difficult issues and try to find solutions, because that's what people do who are sure of their own positions. They look for opportunities to solve problems and persuade each other.
Mr President, the fact that, in the course of a few days without any sort of consultation, both Warsaw and Moscow have quickly been able to give clear indications concerning what we want to improve means that we have already taken the most important first step. We have established mutual trust. I know that this has been achieved at both the official level and that of personal contacts.