Moscow and Berlin see the main task of the Russian-German economic relations at the present stage in giving effect to the existing potential in the sphere of industrial and scientific cooperation, in advancing investment projects in high technological and science-intensive spheres. The official spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Yakovenko, spoke about it in the interview which he gave to RIA Novosti on the eve of the visit to Russia by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
According to him, this task is being dealt with by the Russian-German high-level working group for strategic issues of economic and financial cooperation. Alexander Yakovenko reminded the correspondent that the latest meeting of the group took place on April 3-4 in Berlin.
He underscored that Germany is the leading economic partner of Russia. The diplomat said that the indices of bilateral trade (24.7 billion euro) and of investment cooperation (17.2 percent of the total amount of the accumulated capital investments in the Russian economy and 8.1 percent in direct investments) in 2002 remained at approximately the level of the record year 2001.
Bilateral relations in the cultural sphere are also developing positively. The year 2003 has been proclaimed the Year of Russian Culture in the FRG, and 2004 - the Year of German Culture in Russia. The two countries carry out youth and student exchanges. The bright events of the last year were, according to the official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the first in history joint Olympic Games on the Russian and German languages, and the youth forum - Together into the 21st Century - which was timed to the Olympic Games.
Alexander Yakovenko reminded the correspondent that the third session of the Russian-German public forum - the Petersburg Dialogue - and the events on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the activity of the Siemens concern in Russia, will be held in St Petersburg on April 11-12 with the participation of the Russian and German leaders - Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder.
On the initiative of St Petersburg State University it has been planned to present the German Chancellor with a mantle of Doctor Gonoris Causa of the University's Department of Law.
The inter-parliamentary and inter-regional contacts are also actively developing. It has been planned that Bundestag President Wolfgang Thierse will pay an official visit to Russia on May 12-14, this year, and that Chairman of the Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian parliament) Sergei Mironov will pay an official visit to Germany.