President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Secretary General, colleagues,
First of all, I want to welcome you on this chilly Moscow day. We will be talking about the climate tomorrow and the next day, while today we are here to discuss relations between the Russian Federation and NATO.
Our relations have gone through various periods, from the cold war that lasted a long time on the European continent to a partnership. There have been difficult moments along the way, including the problems that arose last year. But nevertheless, after the decisions made and the meetings that have taken place, I think we are now moving to a new level in our relations. The statements you made following your appointment as secretary general, and the work we have done together have contributed to this.
I hope during your time here in Russia we will have the chance to discuss all current issues in our country’s cooperation with NATO.
There are many issues that concern us both and many subjects for discussion. They include the main challenges in the world today, challenges that affect Europe too, and the situation in our world in general. The big issues today are above all terrorism, crime, countering joint threats, regional issues, and all of the different areas in which we think it the right thing to organise cooperation. Rather than falling, the number of threats we face is actually increasing. Who could have thought just a short time ago that we would have to take joint action against problems such as piracy. These are issues we have to address now, and much depends on the level of cooperation between Russia and NATO.
I recently put forward the initiative of drafting a new pan-European security treaty. I know it is being studied carefully now, including by our partners in NATO. I hope that we will also discuss this matter during your time here.
I wish you a successful mission and I hope that your visit to Russia will help make the relations between Russia and NATO more solid and productive.
Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen (as translated from Russian): Thank you very much, Mr President. Thank you for the invitation to visit Russia.
I see your invitation as a sign of the importance that you and Russia place on relations with NATO. I came here to reaffirm that one of my biggest priorities as NATO secretary general is to strengthen our relations and do everything possible to improve them and set them on a foundation of solid trust.
Of course, we do have differences in a number of areas, but I think that despite this, we have potential for intensifying our cooperation, especially in the areas where we face common threats. Terrorism is one such threat, of course.
Mr President, I also want to take this opportunity to express my condolences over the terrible recent terrorist attack in Russia. It underscores once more the need for joint efforts to combat this scourge, and in particular the danger of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
I think it is of vital importance for Russia too that we succeed in Afghanistan, because if Afghanistan were once again to become a safe haven for terrorists Russia would once again become one of the victims of the terrorism that would spread across Central Asia and from there into Russia.
I therefore want to discuss these issues with you today and look at what we can do to combat this evil.