The Beginning of Russian-Dutch Talks 2007-11-06 17:13:01 The Kremlin, Moscow President Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I would like to welcome you to the Kremlin once again! Relations between our two states, between Russia and the Netherlands, have a long history. Our relations are developing very positively today. We are pleased with the growth in trade, and we are satisfied with our political contacts. We hope that our relations with the Netherlands will serve as a good example and provide an impetus to developing relations between Russia and the European Union as a whole. And finally, we would like to thank you, Mr Prime Minister, for bringing a representative business delegation and members of the Dutch business community with you today. I hope that the direct contacts between representatives of our business communities will help expand and develop our relations in the trade and economic spheres. Prime Minister of the Netherlands Jan Peter Balkenende: Dear Mr President! First of all, thank you for the hospitality you have shown us. It is a great honour for us to be here in the Kremlin. It is correct that there are long historical traditions and ties that join Russia and the Netherlands. And it is very important to note that last time, when I was in St Petersburg a few years ago, we reiterated the importance of continuing these historical traditions. I would also like to point out that the colours of our national flags match. We are certainly happy to be able to discuss various issues and we engage in open communication in various areas. It is also important to note that we have an open trusting dialogue, including with respect to issues on which our views do not always coincide.