Vladimir Putin: Mr President, Mrs Parvanov, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all I would like to thank all of you for the warm reception. Only long-time, tested and loyal friends would offer such heartfelt hospitality. The friendship between Russia and Bulgaria is more than a thousand years old and has a deep historical basis. The closeness of cultural traditions, religion and our written languages have permeated the destinies of our peoples.
The Russian-Bulgarian relationship has withstood severe tests on the battlefield. The liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke was a highlight of our common military history. One hundred and twenty five years ago, Russian soldiers and Bulgarian fighters stood side by side to confront and defeat the conquerors.
Today, as we pay tribute to the courage of our ancestors, it would be worthwhile to recall the recent past. Genuine friendship and cooperation in peacetime after the war continued the glorious traditions of camaraderie and mutual assistance between our peoples.
The real fruits of our common work are hundreds of enterprises, many scientific and technical programmes, and humanitarian and cultural projects which are still working to this day. It is necessary for us not only to preserve this priceless experience, but to actively develop it and find new effective forms of cooperation in the challenging conditions of the rapidly changing world.
By signing a joint declaration and a whole range of intergovernmental and interregional agreements today, we have clearly outlined the stages of our interaction in the broadest range of fields and confirmed our mutual interest in and promise of joint work. I am convinced that we have the political will and all that it takes to put our bilateral relations on a qualitatively new level, a level that does justice to the potentials of our states and our common history.
I would like to toast to the prosperity of the peoples of our countries, the friendship between Russia and Bulgaria, to the health of the President of Bulgaria and his wife, and to all those present.
To your health!