The long-awaited visit to Russia is underway
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed on Wednesday Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in Sochi, a Russian Black Sea resort where they discussed how to improve somewhat neglected bilateral relations, reports N1 on October 18, 2017.
“I am very pleased to welcome you in Russia, and I am pleased to talk about bilateral relations, as well as regional issues. Welcome,” said Putin to the Croatian President at the beginning of the meeting at the state residency.
“I look forward to our conversation, and I believe that we will make a new step, opening a new phase in our relations, discussing bilateral relations, first of all on extending economic cooperation, cultural and other, but also discuss and cooperate on security issues on the European continent, especially in Southeast Europe, and on global security issues in which Russia plays an important role,” the Croatian President said.
She added that at this point there were several open issues between the two countries and expressed her conviction that they could be discussed within the framework of “open dialogue with mutual respect.” “First of all, I think we can create positive preconditions for further expansion of cooperation between Croatia and Russia,” she added.
The President also used the occasion to invite Putin to come on an official visit to Croatia.
Putin pointed out that this year marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Croatia, and he expressed satisfaction with the significant growth of trade between the two countries.
In an interview with Russian news agency TASS before the visit, the Croatian President said: “I believe that Croatia can become a mediator in cooperation between Russia, the EU and NATO, the organisations of which we are a member of and whose values we share and firmly believe in. Still, it is impossible to address many of the issues on the global stage without Russia, and that is why I always support dialogue, even when there are disagreements.”
After the talks in Sochi, President Grabar-Kitarović will this evening travel to Moscow with the rest of the official delegation. The President is accompanied by around 150 Croatian businesspersons, as well as Chief State Attorney Dinko Cvitan.
On Thursday, the President will meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. At the Plekhanov University, she will be awarded an honorary doctorate. The second day of the visit will also include the Russian-Croatian economic forum, which will be attended by representatives of about a hundred companies from Croatia and 245 companies from the Russian side.
On Friday, the President will travel to St. Petersburg.
Translated from N1.