President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Minister,
It gives me pleasure to welcome you to the Kremlin. I ask you to pass on my heartfelt thanks to the President of France, Mr Sarkozy, for his congratulations following my election as President of Russia, and also for his invitation to make an official visit to France.
I am sure that we will have opportunities to meet over the course of this year, first in Hokkaido at the G8 summit (we will definitely meet then and discuss the main issues), and later at the Russian-European Union summit in France in November.
We are happy with the development of our bilateral economic and humanitarian relations. Even our new Minister of Culture [Alexander Avdeyev] is a former Russian ambassador to France, and that is significant in itself.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner: Thank you, Mr President.
Thank you for the warm words you addressed to President Sarkozy. I will definitely pass them on. I would like to add to the President’s and my personal words of congratulation and congratulate you also on behalf of the French people.
I hope that you will decide soon on when you will be able to visit France. We will be very happy to receive you.
There are many things that oblige us to meet frequently, and not only the diplomatic calendar of events, but also the genuine friendship that exists between our peoples.
Our meeting today takes place not very long before France takes over the presidency of the European Union on July 1. I would like to discuss with you what we can do to improve the relations between our countries.