February 10, 2005
Mr Putin opened the meeting by congratulating Ms Arbour on her birthday and presenting her with flowers.
The President spoke about a number of painful issues for Russia, including the situation in Chechnya. Russia is every bit as much concerned as its partners abroad are about human rights violations in Chechnya, but those who put terrorists and Russian troops on the same footing are not correct, Mr Putin noted.
Ms Arbour said the Chechnya issue is of interest to her but she realises that Russia is not just Chechnya.
Mr Putin outlined the Russian state’s approach to human rights issues in general, emphasising that Russia is in the process of building a modern state and that any underestimation of human rights or attempts to develop the state to the detriment of its people are not a part of Russia’s vision.
Mr Putin and Ms Arbour also discussed the issue of double standards when it comes to observing human rights, especially as concerns national minorities.
Also present at the meeting were Chairwoman of the Presidential Council for Assisting the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights Institutions Ella Pamfilova, Human Rights Ombudsman for Russia Vladimir Lukin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Presidential Aide Sergei Prikhodko.
|Beginning of Meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour|