Opening remarks at Russian-Italian interstate consultations 2010-12-03 13:30:00 Sochi President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Prime Minister, dear Silvio, colleagues, I welcome everyone taking part in these Russian-Italian interstate consultations. This is the seventh time that we are holding them in this kind of broad format. I think that these meetings have proved their effectiveness, providing us with a working format in which the ministers know each other, get together and discuss the issues on our bilateral agenda. This shows too the excellent level of relations that our two countries have reached. Indeed, our relations have reached strategic partnership level and are developing fast in all areas: trade and the economy, investment, science and technology, culture and humanitarian ties, and of course our political contacts too. This creates a particular climate in our relations that enables us to resolve the broadest range of issues. Silvio and I discussed a whole range of international affairs just before, and talked about bilateral matters too. I am sure that our partners and colleagues will tell us now about the economic situation. This year has proved better than last year, and has even been a good year as far as our relations are concerned. It should see our bilateral trade return to its pre-crisis level, and we are coming up with new investment projects and carrying out projects already in operation. We are building our cooperation in a wide range of new areas too, including modernisation. Russia very much wants the main European Union countries to take part in our work to modernise the Russian economy. We need technology, skills, and human resource support. In this respect we hope to build up our cooperation in these areas with Italy too. I think that consultations are very useful, all the more so as we will finish these talks by signing a new package of agreements reflecting the full spectrum of Russian-Italian relations. Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, once again I welcome you to Krasnaya Polyana. This is a place of special significance for Russia. As you know, we are interested not just in football alone. We will be holding the Olympic Games here in 2014, and big preparations for this event are currently underway. I want to thank you for being here today, and I now declare these interstate consultations open.