Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev discussed current matters concerning Russian-Bulgarian trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation as well as the implementation of joint projects in energy, industry, transportation, and other areas.
Excerpts from the transcript:
Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, I welcome you from all my heart in Moscow. This is your first visit to Russia as the head of Bulgaria. It is obvious that our peoples share solid bonds of friendship and spiritual affinity. In this context there is no doubt that your visit has special significance.
Despite our centuries-old friendship, we have things to accomplish. Our agenda is quite broad, and includes stepping up trade and economic relations, since unfortunately trade between our countries has been recently shrinking rather than increasing. It is the task of our colleagues in charge of the relevant portfolios in the Government to create an even greater and better momentum for cooperation in this field.
I would like to say that you have come to Russia on the eve of the Day of Slavic Writing and Culture and in the year of the 140th anniversary of Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman rule, which has special significance in the context of the good relations between our countries. I hope that the intensity of our dialogue will increase as well, considering that you have come to Russia in May and we expect Prime Minister Boyko Borissov to visit Russia in the near future. We hope that your visit will advance our relations to the next level.
You will meet with the President of Russia tomorrow, and today we will talk about the matters that are primarily the responsibility of the government.
Once again, welcome to Moscow.
Rumen Radev (via interpreter): Mr Medvedev, first of all, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment as prime minister of Russia and to wish you success in this responsible post. Thank you for the invitation. This meeting is extremely important to us, because it will help us resume the top-level dialogue between our countries which was disrupted for many years. Dialogue at this high level is very important for the success of relations in all spheres of mutual interest.
We are meeting ahead of the Day of Slavic Writing and Culture, which is a festive occasion for Bulgarians and other Slavic nations. We are grateful for your invitation to celebrate this important Slavic festival with you. We will also celebrate another event, the 140th anniversary of Bulgaria’s delivery from Ottoman rule and the restoration of Bulgaria on the map of Europe following the Russo-Turkish Liberation War. This has given an additional impetus to our relations.
We will be talking about trade and economic ties. Our states have advantages in this sphere, because our relations are based not only on economic interests. As you said, there are deep historical and spiritual ties between us. Of course, it is very important for us to review our bilateral relations. Russia has always been an important trade and economic partner. Our trade reached 3.6 billion euros last year, which is a very good figure but it is nevertheless smaller than our previous achievements and falls short of our potential. This is why it is extremely important for us that we take stock and see where we can and should develop our relations more energetically.
Russia has always been our partner in the sphere of energy, supplying us with natural gas, oil and nuclear fuel, as well as taking part in the modernisation and maintenance of Bulgaria’s nuclear facilities. Energy supply security is a major issue for Bulgaria and the European Union, which is why I hope that the Russian Government will reconsider the possibility of direct gas deliveries from Russia across the Black Sea.
We will also resume the Belene nuclear power project. The Bulgarian Parliament and Government have adopted a decision to this effect. We will update you on its progress. The resumption of this project also requires Russian involvement.