3 March 202016:02

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with Foreign Minister of Finland Pekka Haavisto, Helsinki, March 3, 2020

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Mr Minister,

We are grateful for the invitation and for the opportunity to continue our dialogue, based on regular contacts between our presidents. Today at a meeting with the President of Finland, we reaffirmed the focus of our relations on promoting neighbourly relations and a trust-based dialogue and discussed the schedule of upcoming contacts between the Presidents of Russia and Finland, Vladimir Putin and Sauli Niinistö.

Contacts have been established between the prime ministers and regular meetings are continuing between ministries and departments, including the ministries of internal affairs, transport, the environment, justice and, of course, foreign affairs. Meetings between the leadership of the ministries of defence are resuming. We also welcome this.

Russian-Finnish cultural forums and congresses of twin cities are held regularly. All this is in great demand among our citizens.

I would like to note that today Speaker of the Finnish Parliament Matti Vanhanen is ending his visit to Russia. He arrived in Russia at the invitation of the leaders of both houses of the Federal Assembly and took part in an event dedicated to the 150th birth anniversary of the post-war President of Finland, Juho Kusti Paasikivi. His name is connected with the establishment of neighbourly relations between our countries, and we have great respect for the memory of this outstanding political figure.

This year we will mark several very significant anniversaries, including the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Finland to be marked in December. And on the great holiday of May 9, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, in World War II. As you know, President of Finland Sauli Niinistö received an invitation from Vladimir Putin to take part in these celebrations.

I look forward to very productive talks. Once again, I would like to thank you for the hospitality extended to me and our entire delegation.

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