“Only through dialogue can trust grow again”

From the speeches by Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Sigmar Gabriel in Krasnodar

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov:

“Considering the current situation in Europe, when relations between our states – to put it bluntly – are going through hard times, such depoliticised cooperation is an important element in fostering an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding between nations and countries. […]
Lately, our ties have acquired a more constructive and pragmatic nature. The top-level dialogue is moving forward. On May 2, President Vladimir Putin had talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi. We will be happy to host the German president in Russia. Frank-Walter Steinmeier has received an invitation. Interparliamentary and interministerial exchanges continue, including between our diplomatic services. The high-level working group on security issues is resuming full-scale activity.
We welcome the positive trends in the trade and economic sphere. In the first quarter of this year, trade was up by one-third, year on year. A lot was said recently at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, in which our German partners took a very active part, about the interest of German business circles in expanding their operations in Russia. Major joint projects are under way and mutual investment activity is expanding. The interagency working group on strategic cooperation in the economic and financial sphere, which will next meet in July, makes a valuable contribution to efforts in this area.
Cultural, humanitarian, scientific and educational cooperation, as well as cooperation in historical and memorial activities, is expanding. Contacts between civil societies, including as part of such influential discussion forums as the St Petersburg Dialogue and Potsdam Meetings, are as relevant as ever. The bilateral year of youth exchanges was a great success. […]
Overall, we have many positive examples of joint efforts. They should lay the groundwork for a new unifying, forward-looking bilateral agenda, which would not depend on the political situation of the moment, and for returning our relations back to the path of strategic partnership for the good of our nations, Europe and the world as a whole. […]”

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel:

“This is not the first meeting between towns with special ties to one another, but rather a long-standing tradition. I believe – and Sergey Lavrov just pointed out the same thing – that we need this type of exchange in difficult times like these in particular.
I see two reasons why the fact that we are opening this conference and launching the German‑Russian Year of Municipal and Regional Partnerships together here in Krasnodar is a good sign of how wide-ranging and resilient relations now are between people, that is, between Russians and Germans, despite all of the current difficulties between our countries and between Europe and Russia. […]
I sometimes think that notwithstanding all the political differences between us, it is still almost a miracle that Russians have constantly sought contact with us Germans and reached out to us in a spirit of friendship, despite what Germans did in your country, including in your city. This demonstrates enormous trust, as one can react very differently after everything that people experienced in Russia. For this reason, I believe we should particularly cherish the exceptional nature of these relations, which has proved possible despite this terrible history between our peoples. We truly hold a treasure in our hands, one that has been handed on to us by those who experienced the war themselves and were the first to reach out to Germany. People of my generation are more like the heirs to this treasure which makes our responsibility to look after this legacy and not to squander it all the greater. […]
This “international understanding from the bottom up” is clearly symbolised in the meeting of towns and regions here in Krasnodar. […]
Only through dialogue can trust grow again. Such dialogue is needed on many levels – obviously on the level of governments, regions, municipalities, private organisations and individuals. This conference facilitates dialogue at regional and municipal level in particular.”     •

Source: www.mid.ru/de/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2803570?p_p_id=101_INSTANCE_cKNonkJE02Bw&_101_INSTANCE_cKNonkJE02Bw_languageId=en_GB, from 28 June 2017
www.auswaertiges-amt.de/EN/Infoservice/Presse/Reden/2017/170628-BM_Krasnodar.html  from 28 June 2017