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Official website of the President of Russia

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Russian-Czech talks

November 21, 2017, Sochi

Vladimir Putin held talks in Sochi with President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman, who is in Russia on an official visit.

The agenda focused on the further development of Russian-Czech relations, in particular, in trade, economic and cultural spheres, as well as current European and international matters.

Following the talks, Vladimir Putin and Milos Zeman made statements for the press.

* * *

Beginning of talks with President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman

President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman: You had a meeting with President al-Assad yesterday.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I will tell you the details of that meeting.

Milos Zeman: You have won in Syria, because he [President al-Assad] controls nearly the entire territory of Syria, with the exception of a few minor regions. And after all, he is the democratically elected president.

Vladimir Putin: Mr President, you are absolutely right. Indeed, the Syrian government forces have resumed control of 98 percent of the country’s territory. There are a few remaining seats of resistance, but they are rapidly diminishing under the blows delivered by our Aerospace Forces, the Syrian Army and allies. I will give you a detailed account.

But first I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation.

(Talking to the interpreter.) Sorry.

Milos Zeman: Do not translate. Even journalists must understand Russian. If they do not, too bad for them.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

We are glad to see you.

Relations between the Czech Republic and Russia continue to improve despite the recent problems, including thanks to your efforts, Mr President. I want to point out that our trade, which had been falling in the past few years quite significantly – it nearly halved, has grown over the first nine months by over 40 percent. It is a very good sign, a good indicator.

I know that you have a big agenda, including a visit to Yekaterinburg, if memory serves. This is one of the largest industrial centres in Russia, including in the Urals. You are accompanied by a large delegation of Czech business people.

Milos Zeman: One hundred and forty business people. Mr President, you know when I travelled to France, only fourteen business people accompanied me. One hundred and forty have come with me to Russia, which is ten times more.

Vladimir Putin: Because the Czech Republic has a bigger market here than in France.

Milos Zeman: Absolutely.

Vladimir Putin: This is the first reason.

The second reason is because large Czech companies such as Skoda operate here successfully.

Cooperation is also developing in the energy sector, both in hydrocarbons and nuclear power. There are some very interesting possibilities for cooperation in engineering, as I mentioned.

Overall, we have many things to discuss, including cultural links since almost one quarter of the Czech population speaks or at least understands the Russian language. Russians are also increasingly interested in the Czech language and I will talk about this later. Russia’s major theatre companies (the Mariinsky Theatre, the Russian Symphony Orchestra) are planning tours in the Czech Republic.

We have things to talk about. I am happy to see you. Welcome.

Milos Zeman: The majority of these things are positive. Some are negative though. For example, Mr President, we wanted to bring the relics of Saint Ludmila to show you the deep roots of our common culture. There were no ideological issues, only technical problems with arranging the relics’ placement and duration. Therefore, we have one more goal, which is to bring Saint Ludmila to Russia, not for two days as we planned first, but for a week or perhaps even longer.

This is the only negative point. There are no problems in other areas. All systems are operating normally as they say with spacecraft.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.


November 21, 2017, Sochi