President Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, Mr President! I am delighted to welcome you to Khanty-Mansiisk.
I think this is a very good occasion to talk about the development of Russian-Hungarian relations: they are on the rise. Our trade has grown a lot in recent years and even in the past few months.
It is equally important that our cultural cooperation continues to develop. Here the signs could not be clearer, such as the transfer of the Sarospatak Library [the collection of the Sarospatak Calvinist College Library, that was being held in Nizhny Novgorod, was returned to Hungary in 2006]. Activities such as the International Congress of Finno-Ugaric peoples, now opening here in Khanty-Mansiysk, also constitute clear evidence of developing relations in this area.
I hope you will be able to get to know this northern region. Welcome.
President Laszlo Solyom (retranslated from Russian): Thank you for your kind invitation, Mr President.
This is a symbolic place and a symbolic occasion, especially given the fact that only yesterday the Russia-EU summit was held here. On the other hand, it is important that the Khanty-Mansi language is Hungarian’s closest linguistic relative. Therefore, I am confident that the spirit of this meeting will contribute to the strengthening of Russian-Hungarian relations, which are already at a satisfactory level.
You mentioned trade and economic relations. I should also note that Russia is Hungary’s third largest trading partner. Investment amounts to one billion euros annually. For our part, we would like our cooperation in the cultural and educational spheres to be on an equal footing with our economic relations. I see, Mr President, that we have the same views on this subject.
We listened with great interest to the speech you gave in Berlin, and we look forward to the fulfillment of the priorities that you indicated in that speech. In particular I would like to mention the very interesting initiative to inject new momentum into the Helsinki process.
For me, as a founder of the Hungarian Constitutional Court, the idea of strengthening legal statehood is also an extremely important point. In addition, the emphasis you placed on environmental issues as former Deputy Prime Minister is also very important.
For me the subject of environmental protection is a special priority. I am organising a network of so-called green presidents. By the way, the person with whom you’ve just held talks, Tarja Halonen, is a member. The key point is that from time to time the presidents take joint action on various environmental issues.
Dmitry Medvedev: I have just talked with Ms Halonen. The conversation was also full of green sentiments. True, we mainly dealt with trade and economic interaction.
I think that we are can discuss this issue together. I think it is extraordinarily important, and I am ready to take it up. We consider environmental issues and issues related to climate change to be some of the most significant. That is why these will be discussed in the very near future at the G8 summit, which will be held in Hokkaido.