President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear Mr President! Dear Bulgarian Colleagues!
First of all, I want you to welcome you once again to Moscow. Your visit has two dimensions. One is purely formal — one that the visits of delegations to a summit meeting always have — and the other is historical, linked with culture and education. I am referring to the opening of the Year of Bulgaria in the Russian Federation. This is a very significant event. We are all looking forward to it. Last year was the Year of Russia in Bulgaria. It was very successful. We are satisfied with its results. Good events took place. I hope that this year will be marked by the same kind of wonderful and interesting events in the Russian Federation.
We met in a restricted format to discuss several key topics: issues of economic cooperation, issues in the cultural and educational spheres. I think that we have good prospects in this regard. The level of trade that has been reached in recent years bears witness to the high level of confidence between our nations and our good relations in the economic sphere. We must preserve this. In addition, we need to make a number of important decisions about the future.
We just discussed various issues, including the lessons learned from the January gas crisis. I said to you and am ready to confirm once again that, in my opinion, the most important things are, on the one hand, the creation of modern international legal mechanisms aimed at preventing this kind of incident in the future and, on the other hand, the diversification of gas supplies to Europe through new, promising routes. Here I of course am mainly referring to South Stream.
We discussed other issues as well. I think that we will now give our colleagues an opportunity to speak: the leaders of the ministries and departments that were involved in preparations for this visit and who have ideas about how to strengthen Russian-Bulgarian cooperation. Please go ahead Mr President.
President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov (translated from Russian): Dear Mr President, distinguished delegates!
I am really glad that I have a good reason such as the Year of my country to visit Russia. And today we discussed the impressive programme, which appears to be remarkable. But along with this, we used the opportunity to review our relations. These negotiations will continue but I am satisfied, satisfied with the first stage of our negotiations.
I am glad that we addressed current issues that have emerged recently, for example, issues related to the gas crisis, something which particularly acutely affected Bulgaria.
Bulgaria shares the sense of the need for developing new parameters, new international agreements related to safeguarding energy security in Europe and at large. We believe that the energy forum we will host at the end of April in Bulgaria with a wide range of countries — about twenty heads of state — will discuss this issue as well. And we will come to an agreement about strategic policy principles.
I am pleased that you have expressed an interest in and a willingness to tackle issues that have arisen concerning Bulgaria's place in the energy system — in particular the idea of creating a larger gas transfer network, because there are no alternatives to diversification. We hope that the construction of South Stream will be accelerated and we will provide necessary assistance in this matter. Of course we will also continue to promote Nabucco, which is a European priority.
We expect that the negotiations we have undertaken today will help resolve specific issues in the relationship between Gazprom and Bulgargaz, including getting rid of the mediators and creating a more efficient system for the supply of gas.
On the agenda of our negotiations both in their first phase and now is the issue of developing the major project called Belene [a nuclear power plant], as well as other issues related to exchanges in economic, social and spiritual areas, where we have strong traditional ties.