President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Minister-President, colleagues, friends, please accept my heartfelt greetings.
I know that you are here, as last time, at the Moscow Mayor’s invitation, and you have a busy schedule, including meetings with the business community and with my colleagues in the Russian Government.
Bavaria unquestionably ranks first among the Federal Republic’s states in terms of trade and economic ties with Russia. However, what is especially interesting and unexpected is that Bavaria’s exports to Russia increased by 4 percent last year (while imports from the other states and from Germany as a whole decreased by 4.8 percent overall). You must take some credit for this, Mr Minister-President. I hope that your visit will benefit our relations.
Minister-PresidentofBavariaHorstSeehofer (retranslated): Mr President, thank you very much for this chance to meet, and thank you very much for your invitation.
I am very pleased to see that trade relations between Bavaria and Russia are developing so well. Let me thank you too for the fact that during our last meeting, you allowed us to hold talks and work at the federal level, which we are doing. Of course, we are continuing our cooperation with our partner city, Moscow.
Allow me to convey particularly warm greetings from our Federal Chancellor [Angela Merkel]. She reminded me several times that I was not to forget to do this, and said that she would visit you in early May.
We therefore have an excellent opportunity to continue the good relations that have become a tradition between Bavaria and Russia. Some of my predecessors even piloted the plane themselves on the way here and landed safely. My direct predecessor, Edmund Stoiber, as we counted today, visited Moscow around ten times.
Let me assure you that we consider it our duty to expand and deepen the good relations we have in science, culture, the economy, and agriculture. Tomorrow, we will finalise an agreement with the Economy Minister (he is incredibly young). The same goes for agreements we will sign in the areas of agriculture, culture and science.
We have brought a big delegation here, close to 100 people. Thank you very much for the opportunity to deepen our cooperation.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Please pass on my best wishes to the Federal Chancellor as well. We look forward to Ms Merkel’s visit on May 2.