President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
We are happy to receive Mr Emmanuel Macron on his official visit to Russia.
The President of France is combining this visit with participation in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum as a guest of honour. We have a big programme of joint events planned for tomorrow.
We will meet with representatives of Russian and French businesses, talk to members of the Trianon Dialogue Coordinating Council and speak at the forum’s plenary session.
Today Mr Macron and I held bilateral talks, first in a narrow format and later on with the participation of delegation members. We had a detailed discussion of pressing issues of Russian-French relations and international problems.
Interdepartmental agreements and commercial documents that were specially prepared for Mr Macron’s visit to Russia have just been signed. Incidentally, a number of other documents, mostly corporate contracts, will be also signed at the forum.
France is our traditional partner. We cherish our mutually beneficial relations and are trying to develop them actively. We maintain an intensive political dialogue with Mr Macron and often exchange views and ideas over the phone.
Our foreign offices and relevant ministries are cooperating fairly well. Our parliaments and the public are engaged in exchanges.
Naturally, we paid considerable attention to economic issues during the talks. We were pleased to note that last year our trade grew by 16.5 percent. In January-March it increased by another 25 percent. The aggregate amount of Russian investment in the French economy stands at $3 billion, while French investment in Russia is $15 billion.
Overall, speaking about our countries’ economic cooperation, it is enough to mention that over 500 French companies operate in the Russian market.
French companies are actively involved in the Yamal LNG liquefied natural gas extraction project and a number of other large-scale projects. In turn, Rosatom covers 25 percent of France’s uranium fuel needs.
In addition, large projects are underway in other fields – the automobile industry, machine and aircraft building, the food industry and agriculture. French businesses have localised high-tech manufacturing in Russia.
It should be noted that a distinctive feature of Russian-French relations is the mutual interest and sympathy of our peoples, rooted in many centuries of history and deep interpenetration of cultures.
This year we jointly mark the birth bicentenary of Marius Petipa, the famous French and Russian – in every sense of the word – choreographer. Events of the cross year of Russian and French language and culture are being successfully held in Russian and French cities.
In this context, I would like to stress that practical implementation of the initiative proposed by the President of France regarding the Russian-French civil society forum, the Trianon Dialogue, has begun. The Trianon Dialogue coordinating council will hold its first meeting in St Petersburg. Tomorrow Mr Macron and I will try to find time to meet its participants.
As for my talks with the President of France on international issues, they covered virtually all current topics. In particular, we discussed the situation resulting from the US unilateral withdrawal from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme.
In the context of the situation in Syria, we noted that it was necessary to continue facilitating an early political settlement, in particular, given the recommendations approved by the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. Russia will continue maintaining relations with the Syrian Government and the opposition as part of the process launched in Astana. This format of negotiations has proved its viability and is producing tangible results.
We are also set to establish contact with the so-called small group. Of course, we understand that in so doing we need to adhere to the principle of respect for sovereignty. Mr President and I have agreed on how we shall move towards joining our efforts. Our priority task, as we see it, is to ensure that a constitutional committee is created and starts its work in Geneva, and we hailed Damascus’ decision to have their representatives sit on the committee.
We have also touched on the conflict in the southeast of Ukraine, emphasisng the importance of scrupulous compliance with the Minsk Agreements to ensure a sustainable and comprehensive resolution of the intra-Ukrainian crisis.
We have also discussed other current international issues. In particular, we spoke about our joint efforts in cyber space, keeping in mind respect for the universally accepted norms of international law, our mutual interests and, first and foremost, efforts to fight crime, including that in cyber space.
The President and I will continue our talks tomorrow. However, right now I would like to thank the President of France for the talks, which took place in a very businesslike and open atmosphere and were very useful.
Thank you for your attention.