Vladimir Putin met with President of the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik. The meeting took place following the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix auto race at the Sochi Autodrom at Olympic Park.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Dodik, I am happy to see you in Russia again, this time in Sochi.
No so long ago, you attended the economic forum in St Petersburg. In this regard, I would like to note that relations between Russia and Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina are developing successfully, including in the economic sector.
As far as I know, trade with Russia amounts to some 75 percent of your Republic’s overall foreign trade. Our companies operate in the oil and oil processing sectors. One of our companies owns an oil refinery and a lube refinery.
We have made direct agreements on our natural gas deliveries. There are also promising ideas and plans for developing a plant involved in aviation equipment repair, including engines.
And, of course, a major project is converting an oil refinery on the border with your neighbours to natural gas to solve environmental concerns. I do not think that the oil refinery is actually creating such big issues. This is more about switching to a more environmentally friendly type of fuel and your neighbours’ housing and utility services. Yet, this concern should be addressed, and we will do this together with you.
We have projects that are dynamically developing in the humanitarian sphere. Citizens of the Republika Srpska study at Russian universities. I know that recently the foundation was laid for a Russian Orthodox church. Your citizens are making serious efforts to learn Russian. We are prepared to give any assistance and help.
I know that on October 7 you will have elections. I want to wish success to you and your supporters. I hope everything proceeds within the legal framework and successfully, and will contribute to further stabilisation in the republic.
President of the Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik: Thank you, Mr President. It is a great honour for me to meet with you again.
I want to assure that cooperation between our countries is indeed going very well. What you said is absolutely correct. We are cooperating successfully in the economy, and we want to develop this cooperation further.
Indeed, we want to solve all environmental issues with our neighbours, but, as you correctly said, this is not so much about problems as it is about a desire to create the appearance of problems.
We would also like to implement the reconstruction of two thermal power plants with your companies. We are holding corresponding talks and hope that this will be successfully implemented.
Two weeks ago, we had a ceremony to consecrate the foundation stone for a Russian-Serbian religious and educational centre. A total of 6,000 square metres has already been built on this foundation. There will be room for a museum, exhibitions and similar events. We are very much involved in this and expect the construction to be completed as early as next year.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently visited us, and it was a special event for us to which we paid particular attention.
On October 7, we will have our election. However, I know that this is your birthday. I would like to wish you all the best.
Your principled stance regarding the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovinahas always been of help to us,because others do not have such a principled approach, primarily western countries.
Our election campaign is nearing the finishing line, and we believe in a good outcome.
Thank you for all your support for the development of relations with Republika Srpska and Serbia.Of course, we see this as fraternal cooperation. I would like to present to you the flag of Republika Srpska, which is actually the Russian flag upside down.
Vladimir Putin: True.
Regarding environmental issues, if people have any concern, it should be resolved, all the more so as the oil refinery’s switching to natural gas will definitely improve the situation.
As regards the election and my birthday, I hope you will give me a good present and hold this election at a high organisational and political level, and in accordance with your country’s laws.
Once more, I would like to wish you success.