President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President,
I would like to welcome you to the Kremlin, to Moscow. We are happy that you are making this state visit to the Russian Federation.
Our countries have special relations. I am not just talking about our economic and cultural ties but about the relations of deep sympathy and friendship that we have. All of this comes through in daily life. It is enough to say that more than half-a-million Russians visit Italy every year and consider it the cultural heritage of all of Europe. Our good relations are also developing in the trade and economic spheres and our bilateral trade has become very impressive indeed and is now in the tens of billions of dollars. Last year’s results put it at $37 billion – a high point in our business cooperation. We think that our relations are exceptionally good and I am sure that your state visit will become another milestone in their development.
President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano (as retranslated from Russian): First of all, thank you for the invitation to visit your country. I accepted this invitation with great interest from both an institutional and personal point of view. I agree that the long-standing ties of mutual sympathy between our peoples are at the base of our close relations.
At the same time, I can assure you that just as our relations were good in the past, so does our close cooperation continue today. The cooperation between our countries has always been distinguished by consistent development of our relations, even though there have been periods of greater or lesser intensiveness. What I want to and must stress now is that governments change – a democratic system contains the mechanism for change of government – but support for close and friendly relations with the Russian Federation remains an integral part of our policy no matter what political force comes to power in Italy.
In the same way, I can define the political relations between Italy and Russia as a relationship of true friendship. This is the best foundation not just for developing our already excellent relations but also for constructive resolution of international problems.