The President also presented Mr Ban with the Order of Friendship for his great services to strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and understanding between peoples.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Secretary General, colleagues,
Allow me to welcome you in St Petersburg.
I would like to thank you for finding the time to come here to take part in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. We will, of course, use this opportunity to discuss the most important issues on the international agenda.
As you may know, Russia works actively in the Security Council and at all UN forums, and we support all your efforts, Mr Secretary General, to resolve the most complex international issues.
Ban Ki-moon: Mr President Putin, it is a great honour to meet you. Thank you for your time and thank for the invitation to this St Petersburg International Economic Forum. As I said this morning, I hope that given the long history of this forum, this will really contribute to revitalising the international economic situation, and also for the Russian economy, it will help the Russian economy.
Mr President, as you know, this is my last year as the Secretary General, and I cannot but express my deepest thanks and admiration and respect for your global leadership on many, many security developments and positions. For me it has been a great privilege and asset, a political asset, to have worked with Russia, Russian diplomats, and particularly yourself as the president. As a permanent member of the Security Council, you have given strong support for international peace and security, you devoted a great deal, and I will always cherish this support that you have given me.
Mr President, because of the time limit, if I may just begin reviewing certain situations, particularly Syria.