Beginning of Meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev 2009-04-28 21:58:51 Barvikha, Moscow Region President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Prime Minister, I would like to say that we are very happy to welcome you to our country. You have had some good, sound talks with the Prime Minister [Vladimir Putin] and attended a number of ceremonies, which is also important for Russian-Bulgarian cooperation and strengthening our ties in the long term. I would like to note that your work has yielded tangible results; from what I understand, you have been able to reach a final agreement on the energy project. I hope that soon, we will be able to definitively sign the agreement, despite the difficulties in preparing corresponding documents and several issues that affect this process. So I feel that this is a good result from your trip to the Russian Federation. Life does not stand still. We all know that this is not an easy time for the global economy. I think that a great deal depends on how well our countries can cooperate in order to rebuild a normal economy in today’s difficult circumstances. I am happy to see you here. Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev (retranslated from Russian): Thank you, Mr President, I am very happy to meet with you again. It is good that this year, we are celebrating the Year of Bulgaria in Russia, which involves events relating both to culture and the economy. Yesterday, we opened a Bulgarian economic exhibit in Moscow, but this is just a start and as part of the Year’s events, we will also have exhibitions in such Russian cities as Khanty-Mansiisk, Yekaterinburg, Vologda, and Kursk, so that Russian people can learn about modern Bulgaria. It is very pleasant to note that in the two and a half years since Bulgaria has become a member of the European Union, our economic relations have expanded, both in terms of turnover between our countries and in terms of energy projects and economic cooperation. Indeed, we had successful talks on preparing an agreement which will address the relations between the Bulgarian Energy Holding and Gazprom in the context of the South Stream pipeline construction. You know that talks like this are usually difficult, especially at a corporate level, since naturally, each party looks out for their own interests and benefits. That is why we involve politics: in order to make this process “cleaner” and to add credibility. I am very happy that the suggestion made by the Bulgarian side, which we discussed with Mr Putin yesterday, was accepted. We also discussed issues regarding the Belene nuclear power plant project implementation. While South Stream is still a concept, Belene is already realistic. Dmitry Medvedev: We hope that South Stream will soon start to materialise as well.