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Meeting with President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman

May 14, 2017, Beijing

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman. Earlier that day the two leaders participated in the opening of the Belt and Road international forum.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, I am very pleased to see you.

You have just recalled the meeting we had here in China several years ago, which took place during another international event.

You can listen to the translation…

President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman: No need to translate. We all understand some Russian dialect – perhaps, the dialect of central Russia.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, standard Russian language.

To begin with, I would like to say that we are aware of your stance on the Russia-Czech relations, Mr President. To a large extent thanks to you, these relations have been maintained at a high level and have further developed in the past years despite any complications.

I see our conversation today as preparation for your visit to Russia this November. Our agencies have already started preparing for this visit. For example, the Russian Culture Ministry and the Foreign Ministry are working on a large exhibition in Moscow, and we find this news very pleasing. I believe that the Russian public and art lovers will enjoy this exhibition.

In the economic sector, despite the previous years' recession, trade turnover growth of over 44 percent was observed in the beginning of this year. This is a good sign and a good trend we have to preserve.

Milos Zeman: The number of tourists is growing – this is very positive.

Vladimir Putin: This is connected to the gradual restoration of personal incomes, which shrank during the crisis in our country. Today, actual earnings of our citizens have started to gradually increase, and tourist activity is increasing as well.

So, I am very glad about our new meeting.

Milos Zeman: Thank you very much.

This meeting [Belt and Road international forum] is a meeting of extraordinary, outstanding politicians. You were not present after your speech, and soon after the Deputy Premier of China delivered his speech. He spoke for about half an hour. He actually said what the Chinese President had already spoken about, but he was speaking very loudly.

Vladimir Putin: Repetition is the mother of learning.

Milos Zeman: Mr President, I totally agree with you that we must focus on developing specific links. I would like to give several examples.

Let me introduce new Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr Havlicek. He is not to blame for what happened in the past, he has been in the office for only a month. After 2.5 years of work, an intergovernmental commission will meet, and we expect it to give new impetus to our cooperation. This is the first thing.

Second, we have proposed establishing a joint discussion forum, and I know that the Russian side wants a well-regarded man to be responsible for the Czech part of the commission. I am not fully sure that I am well regarded, but if I am, I am totally ready to do this.

As for the third point that you have mentioned – it's the exhibition of Prague Castle treasures.


May 14, 2017, Beijing