President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, Ms Sarkozy, ladies and gentlemen,
First, I would like to once again express my gratitude to the President of France for this invitation to visit your nation. This is not just a simple visit, but a state visit, and I see this invitation as coming from the leader of a friendly state and a person whom I deeply respect and consider my friend. And, as Mr President has just said, these feelings are reciprocal.
I believe that sincerity and openness are very helpful in developing our cooperation. Relations between Russia and France have a very long history, and are based on mutual affinity and interest.
Over the course of many centuries, our writers, philosophers, artists, and musicians have aligned the minds and hearts of our peoples. This was just demonstrated very clearly in the speech by the President of the French Republic.
There are many things that make us close, including the desire to maintain our identity and strengthen our nations’ historical status as great powers.
As Charles de Gaulle once said, France cannot be France without greatness. We may ask, then, how is this greatness expressed today? What are our national missions?
I think that first and foremost, our missions are pursuing justice and humanism in international relations, as well as accepting responsibility for the global security. We see that the leaders of France share our vision, while our nations are equally concerned with the scope of threats and challenges of today and are ready to jointly seek ways to counterstand those threats.
During this visit, we once again witnessed the similarity between our approaches toward resolving today’s most pertinent international problems. Our talks with President Sarkozy took place in an atmosphere of complete mutual understanding and once again evidenced the high level of our bilateral strategic partnership, which I can boldly call a privileged partnership.
We talked about everything and discussed a wide variety of issues, but no doubt, we placed particular emphasis on economic and scientific cooperation. We have dozens of joint projects in the most forefront, high-tech domains, ranging from space research and nuclear energy to digital technologies and pharmaceuticals.
In an overwhelming majority of these instances, we see more than ordinary interaction, but rather, real cooperation involving transfer of technologies, assets swaps, implementation of joint innovations which often have no global match.
Our achievements and our plans are aimed at innovative modernisation of our nations. As you know, and as my colleague just mentioned, the challenges of modernisation and upgrading are currently our greatest priority. We all understand that these problems can only be resolved by very well-educated and free-thinking people and therefore today we must create all the conditions necessary for developing those people’s potential.
Ladies and gentlemen, today the President of France and I officially launched a joint cultural project: the Year of Russia in France and the Year of France in Russia. This unique project has been under preparation for over two years. Its programme is diverse and extensive.
I am certain that this project will be successful and will become a bright symbol of the cultural and spiritual closeness of our peoples, give momentum to new social and business initiatives, offer additional opportunities for direct communication between individuals, and strengthen our traditions of friendship and mutual trust.
In his remarks, Mr President – my friend Nicolas – repeatedly referred to our strategic partnership which was not a figure of speech but a statement of a fact. Today, we are bound to France through a special kind of relationship – a close, friendly and privileged relationship. We really do have very similar visions of what is happening in the world. We have common communication standards. I genuinely hope that we have common values. We are open to friendship and cooperation.
I would like to thank the President of France for a magnificent welcome, and for the perfectly organised events of this long, wonderful, action-packed day that our delegation had the pleasure of attending. I would like to propose a toast to France’s prosperity, to the health of the President of the French Republic and Ms Sarkozy, to the friendship between our nations, and to the excellent prospects for cooperation between our states in the future.