Beginning of the Meeting with Romanian President Traian Basescu 2005-02-14 10:59:00 The Kremlin, Moscow President Vladimir Putin: Mr President, let me wish you a warm welcome to Moscow. Thank you for accepting our invitation and coming to Russia. I would like to congratulate you on your election to the post of President. At the start of our meeting I would like to note that over these last years we have managed to reverse the decline in our relations. This can be seen not only by the Friendship and Cooperation Agreement signed in 2003 between Russia and Romania but also by our constantly increasing trade turnover, which rose by more than 15 percent last year. Once again, I congratulate you on your election to the post of President of Romania and I welcome your visit to Moscow and hope that we will be able to establish very good personal and working relations that will help us to continue developing the contacts between our countries and our peoples. Welcome! President of Romania Traian Basescu: Thank you, Mr President. Your invitation was a great honour for me and it is with pleasure and respect that I accepted it. I think that we have a starting point in the agreement that our two countries signed in 2003 and I firmly believe that this agreement should now be given economic substance and that Russia and Romania can use it as a foundation on which to build not just excellent political relations but also excellent economic relations. We are aware of Russia’s interests in the (Black Sea) region and at the same time we wish it to be known that we also have our interests in that region. I very much want, during my time in office, to become one of your European friends, a friend who can call you at any time and who you can call at any time. We study history in order to be able to look to the future. The past is a reality but it is already history and we now need to build our future. That is the most important thing. Thank you, Mr President. Vladimir Putin: Mr President, everything you said with regard to the Romanian government’s intentions applies equally well to Russia’s intentions to develop our cooperation with your country.