Working visit to Germany, 1 June 2012

Text of report in English by Russian presidential website on 1 June: "Working visit to Germany, 1 June 2012"; subheading as published

Vladimir Putin and Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel held talks in Berlin. Following the talks, Mr Putin and Ms Merkel made press statements and answered journalists’ questions.

Mr Putin also met with President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck.

Joint news conference following Russian-German talks

FEDERAL CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY ANGELA MERKEL (translated from Russian): Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish a warm welcome to President of Russia Vladimir Putin. He is visiting us here in Berlin today after being re-elected to the office of president, and has come here today on what is one of his first visits abroad.

We are pleased to have such good and intensive relations with Russia. Naturally, we discussed our bilateral relations and we agreed to hold German-Russian interstate consultations in Kazan this October.

Our economic cooperation is developing well on both sides, as we both noted. Germany wants to support Russia in its industrial modernization. We also have very close ties in the raw materials sectors, as the example of the Nord Stream gas pipeline’s construction shows.

We exchanged views on the growth of Russia’s civil society and the development trends taking place there. Let me stress that we very much want to see the development of democratic pluralism diversity in Russia because this is the only way to build a civil society able to support the country’s development.

We are holding reciprocal cultural years in 2012-2013, with the Year of Russia in Germany and the Year of Germany in Russia. Germany will organize more than 1,000 events in more than 50 towns across Russia, including a big exhibition, Russians and Germans: 1,000 Years of Joint Ties in History, Art and Culture. This will probably be a culminating point in our shared history.

As far as our economic relations go, our bilateral trade increased by 29 per cent compared to the 2010 figure, and this shows the dynamic development in our ties.

Russia will chair the G20 next year, and we will thus work together on the international stage too.

We discussed the situation in the Eurozone. I made it very clear that Germany will do everything in its power to keep the euro stable and get us through the debt and competitiveness crisis that we currently face as rapidly as possible.

Among foreign policy matters, we discussed the Syrian issue of course, discussed the complex situation there. The events in Hula show the extent of the human rights problems in Syria, and we both stressed the importance of finding a political solution. Kofi Annan’s plan could serve as the departure point, but we must make strenuous efforts through the UN Security Council to get this plan implemented. We must be more active here, and each country – I am speaking here in Germany’s name – must make its contribution to preventing civil war in Syria. We must take the necessary political steps in this regard.

We welcome the decision to hold the next round of talks on Iran in Moscow, and this is something we also discussed today. We are likewise pleased that the Trans-Dniester initiative that is part of the Mezelberg process will continue under President Putin. We had a thorough discussion on all of these subjects.

We will meet again during the G20 summit in Los Cabos, and there will be other opportunities during the year to continue developing our bilateral relations.

Once more, I wish you welcome!

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Ladies and gentlemen,

We have just ended our talks and thorough discussion with Ms Merkel, and as always, our conversation was productive and took place in a friendly and open spirit.

We reaffirmed our mutual desire for an intensive political dialogue that will strengthen Russian-German cooperation in all areas, and we exchanged views on a wide range of issues, most of which the Federal Chancellor mentioned just now. We discussed regional issues and developing our humanitarian ties.

Naturally, the economic agenda was one of the main subjects of discussion. Our trade is growing, as you just heard. In 2011, by our figures, it reached the record level of almost 72 billion dollars, which is up by more than a third on the 2010 figure.

Our energy sector ties are also developing well. You just heard about the Nord Stream project. The gas pipeline’s first section is already in operation, and the underwater part of the second section will soon be finished and by the last quarter of this year will start delivering gas to consumers in Germany. This will certainly bolster energy security for all of Europe.

We paid particular attention to the preparations for our 14th round of interstate consultations and decided that they will take place in Kazan this autumn.

I agree, of course, with the Federal Chancellor that the reciprocal cultural years under the patronage of our two countries’ heads of state will be a big event in our bilateral relations. I have already sent the invitation to President of Germany Joachim Gauck, and I hope to have the pleasure of presenting him personally with the invitation at our meeting later.

These events will conclude with a gala concert in the summer of 2013 in Berlin. As was said, we will organize hundreds of events in each other’s countries, and I am sure they will be memorable moments for people in both countries.

The St Petersburg Dialogue forum continues to play a big role in strengthening our bilateral ties and is a valuable generator of interesting new initiatives.

As was said just now, we also discussed our cooperation on the international stage. We discussed the problems the international community is encountering now in Syria, the growing violence there, and we also discussed the Iranian nuclear programme.

In just a few days’ time, the Russia-EU summit will take place in St Petersburg. We hope that Germany, as our longstanding constructive partner, will play a positive part in developing relations between the Russian Federation and the European Union in general.

I want to thank the Federal Chancellor for today’s very good discussion and for the friendly and business-like spirit in which it took place.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Source: President of the Russian Federation website, Moscow, in English 1634 gmt 1 Jun 12

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