President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Allow me to welcome you once again! Yesterday, we had a rather packed working day.
I would like to thank you for deeming it possible to accept our invitation and come to the Arctic Forum in St Petersburg.
Yesterday, we also had a sufficiently substantive working lunch. We were able to discuss the situation concerning the Arctic region on a wider scale and exchange views on world developments.
Since January 1, 2019, Iceland chairs the Nordic Council of Ministers. We have developed good, constructive relations with all these countries.
As for our bilateral relations, they have always been exceptionally constructive and friendly. Last year marked 75 years since the establishment of our diplomatic relations.
I hope that the positive experience we have amassed will enable us to move forward and on, despite the difficulties that we mentioned yesterday, including during the working lunch.
We are delighted to see you. A warm welcome once again!
President of Iceland Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson (retranslated): Mr President, thank you very much for the cordial reception and the warmth that both I and all the members of my delegation felt.
We are just back from St Petersburg State University, your alma mater, where we also experienced a friendly reception.
You have justly noted that our relations – Iceland and the Soviet Union, Iceland and Russia – have been mutually beneficial for both countries.
When difficulties emerged, we could overcome and solve them, but there is one thing that always united and continues to unite us: the Arctic has not disappeared anywhere.
For this reason, it was a great honour and privilege for me to accept your proposal and attend The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue meeting.
I think that our work at the forum yesterday, alongside other colleagues and heads of other Nordic countries, as well as our discussion of important matters at yesterday’s working lunch were all very important and demonstrated once again that we need the Arctic – territory of dialogue.
In this spirit, I would like to thank you, Mr President, once again and express hope that you and I will continue to work together, promote our relations, and develop a constructive dialogue.