President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Commissioner, colleagues,
Allow me to welcome you to the Kremlin. I am very pleased that we have this opportunity to meet.
I know that you have been in Russia for a while now and have had the chance to visit a number of regions and meet with representatives of various organisations there.
I think you will have seen that we are trying to respond to past comments made by yourself and your colleagues. We have perhaps not succeeded in everything yet, and your visit is therefore all the more valuable. I will be happy to discuss matters with you today.
In any case, we place great importance on our contacts with you and on our work with you and with the Council of Europe in general.
Council of Europe Commissioner For Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg (translated from Russian): Thank you, I am also very pleased that we are meeting today and I see it as very important.
I just received today the answer to the recommendations made by predecessor and his report. I see that there are great opportunities for constructive dialogue between us. There are three main areas I would like to discuss.
First, I have just come back from the North Caucasus and would like to exchange views on the situation there.
Second, I would like to talk about the ideal means of organising comprehensive and systematic work on respecting human rights in the country as a whole.
And third, I would like to discuss a number of issues directly related to the Council of Europe’s work.