Rudiger von Fritsch, German Ambassador to Russia 25 years since the reunification of Germany and 60 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries.
25 years have passed since that moment, when both German states were reunited, and what do we see looking back? For us it was the happiest moment since 1945 the reunion was given to us in conditions of peace and in conditions of harmony with all our friends and partners.
The support that was provided to us at thee time by Soviet Union under the leadership of Gorbachev, is also related to this agreement with our partners.
Then, there was a lot of critical issues, at both international level and within Germany – Will this reunion happen, and will it be good, so good that it will mean that this new reunited Germany will have much more weight.
As for the prospects within the country – it was a huge challenge, which we faced: two separate states reunited, two societies, two economies, economic systems, which developed separately from each other for 40 years.
It was a huge economic challenge, a huge social challenge and a great challenge from a human point of view.
25 years have passed, and a survey was conducted, and it turned out that Germans, both in the West and in the East, for the most part, believe that this reunion was successful.
Of course, the fact that economic development in Germany is quite positive, that employment is quite high here and there, has contributed to this.
In any case, nowadays, the fact that our head of government, Mrs Federal Chancellor Merkel, and our Federal President, Head of State are natives of East Germany, is hardly thematised.
And how Germany approached the fact that its weight at international level has increased so much? I think we have reasons to say that we managed to handle this role and the new weight of our country responsibly, and in conditions of trust between our partners.
Considering that history, which, looking back, was also determined by tyranny and truly terrible stories, during which USSR also suffered, taking into account this history, for us it was a top priority to build our foreign policy, so that it would be based and focused on rules and agreements.
Part of our responsibility, of which we were aware, and was the desire to form our relationship with Russia on the good basis, and on the basis of mutual understanding.
It should not be forgotten, that there are a lot of good things, that we managed to do both at the international level, where Germany, with a very strong voice spoke in favour of Russia becoming a member of the Group of Eight, in favour of signing of Founding Act "Russia-NATO", in favour of signing of an agreement on partnership and cooperation between the EU and Russia.
And at the bilateral level, where we have very extensive and intensive economic, cultural, science relations, where so many great things were accomplished.
Since our policy is what it is, it relies on rules and agreements, we were especially shocked by the fact that this trust has been violated, and the agreements were violated, as a result of that terrible conflict, the victim of which Ukraine became.
However, together with our French partners, in the role of intermediaries, in the role of partners, we tried to do everything to ensure to overcome this conflict, and overcome through dialogue, through political means.
And maybe, this week we do have such situation, where the decisive breakthrough, decisive progress can be achieved, because as you probably know, on October 2, in Paris, the heads of states and governments of Normandy format will meet.
About this and about the preparation of this meeting, we are in a stage of intensive negotiations both in Kiev and here, and our hope is that the Russian government has done everything it can and used its influence in order to achieve three things.
Firstly, it is for achieved and held since early September cease-fire to be indeed strengthened and put on a solid basis by withdrawal of weapons of small large caliber.
Secondly, for those who are responsible in Lugansk and Donetsk to allow international humanitarian organizations go there, to work on those territories without hindrance.
And thirdly, and it is very important, for no unilateral steps to be taken, such as the holding of local elections, which would fundamentally violate Minsk agreement.
That conflict, the victim of which Ukraine became, occupies us, occupies us intensively and comprehensively, and it will be like that in the future.
Nevertheless, we should not forget because of it that German-Russian relations are much broader, much richer, much deeper, as evidenced by those 25 years that have passed, those 60 years that have passed.
A lot of things were accomplished over these years, and we know that our common history can be a story of success.
It should not be forgotten, that there is no alternative to good German-Russian relations.