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Beginning of Russian-German Intergovernmental Consultations October 2, 2008 St Petersburg Начало российско-германских межгосударственных консультаций 2 октября 2008 года Санкт-Петербург PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Ms Federal Chancellor, Participants, It is my pleasure to welcome you to this tenth round of consultations, which is taking place in St. Petersburg for the second time now, more than seven years after first being held here. I hope that with its historic facades and modern development St Petersburg, our northern capital, will provide the perfect inspiration for our work together. We have agreed to alternate our working sessions with dinners. I hope you are all in high spirits now and we can continue our work. A year has gone by since our bilateral summit in Wiesbaden and many events have taken place since then. Russia held its presidential election and reorganised its Government, though most of the faces here today are familiar to our German colleagues. We had an intensive schedule of summit meetings over this time - this is the fifth meeting in the last seven months with Ms Merkel and contacts at ministerial level have also been intensive. Summing up what has been accomplished, I especially want to note the pleasing fact that our bilateral trade is now close to a new record of $60 billion. I think the High-Level Working Group on Economic and Financial Cooperation has done a lot to help us reach this result. We hope that the Intergovernmental Working