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OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Dmitry Medvedev’s conversation with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

The meeting focused on aspects of bilateral cooperation.

Transcript of the beginning of the conversation:

Conversation with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Minister, dear Frank, I cordially welcome you to Moscow. We last met in Munich. We were able to talk, address the complexities of the present foreign policy situation and the way the relations between our countries have been developing, including our economic ties. There are both pluses and minuses and there are gains and losses here. There was a useful exchange of opinions. We agreed to meet in Moscow.

Naturally, I hope that today we will also address bilateral cooperation issues. However, before we do, I cannot help saying something about the current situation, especially in the context of what happened in Brussels yesterday. Needless to say, this is a challenge to the entire civilised world, a barbaric terrorist act that shows how vulnerable Europe has become and how vital mutual understanding is between different European states and generally between all responsible states to prevent such terrorist acts and fight the evil that international terrorism in fact is.

Perhaps there are various reasons for what is happening – among other things, the ongoing migration-related situation that has evolved both in entire Europe and in Germany. Frankly, we are anxiously watching all this (I also said this in Munich) and are willing to address these issues and make our contribution. However, it is understandable that terrorist acts like these have consequences. Naturally, they will impact EU policy and perhaps your decisions. And, of course, we will also bear in mind everything that has happened in formulating our foreign policy priorities, as well as in making decisions in the economic area.

In any event, this is a horrible act that has struck a painful chord in the hearts of our people, and it once again highlights the need to consolidate all efforts.

Today your delegation will have meetings. You have already met with your colleagues, with Mr Lavrov. There will be a meeting with the President. And these issues will be raised in some way or another.

In any case, I am pleased with our new meeting and the opportunity to exchange opinions.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier (via interpreter): Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister, dear Dmitry. I am also pleased that we have met again soon after our previous meeting.

It gives me pleasure to remember that we talked throughout the evening about the difficult situation in the world and the role that your country and our country are playing in overcoming crises, in search of solutions – be it in Syria, Iran or Ukraine.

We agreed that our cooperation in Iran and Syria, where a solution is in sight after five years of efforts, has been a success. We have yet to reach it but for the first time international interaction between Russia and the United States and certain European partners and Arab neighbours has brought about political talks and a ceasefire that has been holding for three weeks now.

This lays the groundwork for a political solution, but we need to work (and we discussed this with Mr Lavrov) and we need to exert pressure on parties to the conflict so that they really follow this path towards a political settlement.

Today, we met after yesterday, a day that brought us another bloody tragedy in Belgium. We witnessed very tragic events after Tunisia, after two terrorist attacks in Paris and after Istanbul, as a result of which many Germans were killed. This is further evidence that international terrorism is a threat to all of us and so the only conclusion is that we should defend ourselves against it together.

I just said at a news conference that if we give up our lifestyle, if we give up our freedoms, then terrorists will have in effect achieved their goals. We must protect our lifestyle and defend ourselves against terrorism together. Cooperation between Germany and Russia and between the European Union and Russia is of paramount importance here. We intend to use the opportunities that arise from our OSCE presidency and talk about fighting terrorism even more. This will not be easy, but our joint goal has been formulated and we will seek to fight this danger through cooperation.

In addition, migration is a serious issue that we will not be able to resolve overnight and of course decisions will be made both on the national and the European level and they will be implemented. However, when in Germany, I always say: We know that people do not flee their homes, families and motherland just like that. They flee from war and violence and so the termination of war, the termination of a civil war is a key to slowing the migration trend. This is another reason for us to collaborate on issues such as Syria and Libya, among others, as closely as possible to transform a state of war into a state of peace. So thank you very much for today’s meeting. 

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