Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, dear colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Moscow.

I am very pleased, Mr Prime Minister, that you are here in our country at the invitation of the Russian Prime Minister. And I am even more pleased that your visit will result in the signature of a large number of different documents that, I believe, will help us develop our bilateral ties in industry, agriculture, sport, and all the different areas in which we work together.

Our bilateral trade turnover came to close to $1 billion last year. This may seem a small figure in absolute terms for Russia, but I am happy to note that in per capita terms, this is our best bilateral trade result in Europe.

We still also have a number of problems to resolve, however. We know that we need to work together to diversify our trade. I am sure that your visit to Russia will help achieve this goal.

Welcome.

Janez Jansa (Translated from Russian): Mr President, thank you very much for this honour you have given me, for your hospitality and for this opportunity to meet with you.

Next month will mark five years since our last meeting when you visited Slovenia. Seeing what great strides Russia has made over this short time I can but congratulate you on these achievements.

I am very pleased that our bilateral relations have made progress over this time. You mentioned that Russia has a very high level of bilateral trade with Slovenia. We would like, of course, to also expand our investment cooperation. Significant steps have been taken during this visit, during our delegation’s stay here. I was accompanied on this visit to Moscow by a delegation of unprecedented size – a first on such visits – and this, of course, illustrates the kind of reciprocal interest that exists between us.

Several new projects in the energy sector have got underway recently. These are projects involving cooperation between companies, businesspeople, and the Slovenian Government is doing everything it can to ensure that this cooperation will bring maximum success. I am very pleased that, as you mentioned, this visit will see us draw up a certain legal framework for our cooperation. We will sign a whole series of agreements that will facilitate our work in many different sectors.

I am very pleased that our ties are growing stronger in other areas too, not just in the economy but also in culture. We consider this to be of great importance in Slovenia. We are very glad that both Russian state and church representatives take an active part in our annual celebrations at the Russian Chapel.

These celebrations have provided the occasion to weave many ties that help us to develop our work together in other areas too. I would like to thank you for the fact that a large delegation from Russia takes part every year. This year, a delegation led by Speaker of the Federation Council Mr Mironov will be taking part. I have also been informed that you have authorised some members of your Presidential Regiment to take part, and this is very good news. It will give this event greater significance.

This visit is taking place at a time when we have no unresolved issues between our countries, and this shows that we have succeeded in adding a further solid layer to our relations.

Vladimir Putin: I fully agree with you that both our countries can take greater steps forward in the area of investment cooperation. Members of your country’s business community are working in fifty different Russian regions. We very much hope that Russian business will find interesting opportunities to invest its energy and capital and to take part in your privatisation programme, which, as far I know, runs through to 2010. The economic possibilities of our country and our companies make it possible today to make serious investment both at home and abroad. We hope that the conditions offered will be no worse than the conditions your country offers companies from other countries.

Janez Jansa: Of course, all roads to Slovenia are open for Russian companies. Our Government has recently adopted a whole number of measures to encourage foreign investment.