Foreign Ministers of Russia and Germany welcomed the participants of the Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities in Krasnodar

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Vice Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Sigmar Gabriel arrived in the capital of Kuban to take part in the opening of the 14th Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities that takes place in Krasnodar in period June 28-30. The ceremony was attended by Governor of Kuban Veniamin Kondratiev and Mayor of Krasnodar Evgeny Pervyshov.

"Krasnodar picked up the torch from Karlsruhe, and this proves once again that we are open to close interaction between our countries and our peoples. We must counter global challenges and threats and restore relations between our countries to strategic partnerships. Today we are interested in advancing dialogue not only at the level of leaders of our countries, but also through regional and municipal partnerships. Now we give start to the cross-year of the municipal partnerships of Russia and Germany. Various activities are planned in the Russian regions and federal states of Germany, and the participants of today's Conference will undoubtedly take an active part in them," said Sergey Lavrov.

The opening ceremony of the Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities was held in Krasnodar Philharmonic of G.F. Ponomarenko.  About 700 participants were present at the ceremony, including delegations of Russian and German sister cities, diplomatic representatives of other countries, representatives of the International Association "Twin Cities", the Union of Russian cities.

In his statement, Sigmar Gabriel remarked that the holding of such conferences had become a good tradition, and that in the current challenging times countries needed a dialogue initiated by the citizens themselves.

"Today we begin the cross-year of municipal partnerships of Russia and Germany, and this proves once again that, despite the difficulties, relations between people of our countries are strong. Krasnodar endured the dark months of the fascist occupation, atrocious crimes were committed in the city and, despite that, you've done us a favour, we are on friendly terms, and this is an indicator of confidence. We have a special relationship, and we have to keep and protect it," said Sigmar Gabriel.

The joint statement of Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and Federal Republic of Germany on support for the Russian-German Cross-Year of regional and municipal partnerships in 2017-2018 and joint patronage on the project was also announced.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, official partnerships are now maintained between the 23 constituent entities of the Russian Federation and the 14 federal states of Germany, there are more than 100 pairs of partner cities, including Krasnodar and Karlsruhe.

Veniamin Kondratiev also noted the importance of regional and inter-municipal contacts for the development of Russian-German relations.

"At the territory of Kuban 26 enterprises with German capital are working successfully, and a number of joint major projects in different areas are being implemented. There are regular business missions from Germany in our region, and this Conference is another step towards the strengthening of our friendly, political and economic relations," said Veniamin Kondratiev.