Sergey Lavrov – to participants of the Potsdam Meetings: “We welcome the fact that the youth from Russia and Germany has joined the work as they will be the ones strengthening our relations”

15 May 2019

The XXII Potsdam Meetings have opened in Berlin. This year, the topic for a discussion at the conference, which has become a tradition, is global risks for Russia, Germany and the European Union in the changed world.

The attendees were welcomed by Executive Director of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund Leonid Drachevsky.

He mentioned that the Potsdam Meetings, which initially had focused on humanitarian cooperation, slowly had become more and more politics-oriented and had turned into a very serious platform.

“These meetings go through different stages. There was a time when ministers of foreign affairs were visiting us, talking to us and were making conclusions for themselves. Later, everything was released onto a poor level. Today, and we should give credit to the ministers, they took our Potsdam Meetings under their patronage”, said the head of the Gorchakov Fund.

He called it a good sign that people involved in the issues of foreign policies of their countries could hear voices of those experts, who were, indeed, interested in cooperation in order to understand how to answer present-day challenges. And today we should answer them quickly, but at the same time with great care and attention as one wrong movement can result in a big disaster.

“We have gone away from slogans of fighting for peace of the 1950s. And the fight for peace is presently needed as much as ever. And we should prepare today answers to conflicts, which are present in the word, which are emerging inside countries and are approaching us from different sides”, emphasized Leonid Drachevsky.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Germany Sergey Nechayev read a message from Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov to the participants of the conference. The document said:

“With all my heart I welcome participants of the Potsdam Meetings, which for the first time are taking place under our joint patronage with my German colleague Heiko Maas. Over the past years, the forum has become a respected platform for a Russian-German intersocietal dialogue, which brings together representatives of energy, business and expert circles. Its agenda is very ambitious and includes major bilateral and pan-European issues. We support the fact that the youth from Russia and Germany has joined your work as in the future it will have to develop our intergovernmental relations, strengthen trust and mutual understanding between the two nations. And this time as well, you will have to discuss a wide spectrum of topics starting from maintaining stability in Europe considering the exit of the US from the INF Treaty to identifying places of our countries in a developing multipolar system. As for us, we proceed from the fact that it is efficient to resolve multiple problems of our common continent by getting together based on principles of equality, indivisible security and broad economic cooperation. A special role in those efforts is to be played by constructive Russian-German cooperation. Wishing you productive discussions and all the best!”

Sergey Nechayev also mentioned that it was important to listen to each other and find solutions in order to prevent estrangement between the Russian and the Germans.

The diplomat thanked organizations dealing with German-Russian relations and creating opportunities for an extensive dialogue.

Chairman of the German-Russian Forum Matthias Platzeck, in his turn, called the Potsdam Meetings a good platform for laying a foundation for a bigger community on the European continent. “Only united, strong Europe, especially, Europe, which has a place for Russia, will be efficient as a global actor and will be able to answer challenges in a timely manner”, believes the speaker.

We would like to remind that organizers of the Potsdam Meetings are the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund and the German-Russian Forum. This year, the conference is held under the patronage of Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov.

Prominent politicians and public figures from Germany and Russia, diplomats, journalists and businessmen are taking part in the discussions. The delegation includes Chairman of the German-Russian Forum Matthias Platzeck, member of Bundestag Dirk Wiese, Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Politics magazine Fyodor Lukyanov and many others. Experts from previous Youth Forums of the Potsdam Meetings have also been invited.