Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday expressed his gratitude to TASS news agency for the opportunity to meet top executives of the world's largest international news agencies. The meeting took place on the second day of the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia’s second city.
"I would like to thank TASS, our oldest news agency, for having launched this initiative last year," said Putin. He also thanked everyone who attended the meeting "for taking part in the forum". "You are here not only as observers but also as participants in the event," he told news agencies’ heads.
Putin offered his apologies for the delay in the meeting, which was expected to start at 9:00 p.m., according to TASS. He explained that "my colleagues who arrived at the forum have a strong desire to discuss current issues and problems, and it is difficult and almost impossible to interrupt them mid-sentence". "That is why one meeting ran over into another with corresponding delays," he said. "I am very glad to see you and talk about the issues that concern you."
The Russian leader’s meeting with heads of leading international news agencies, participating in a media summit as part of the St. Petersburg forum, is being held for the second consecutive year. Such format of talks between global media representatives was launched by TASS.
Besides the organiser of the meeting - Russia’s TASS news agency, participants this year include top executives of eleven international news agencies - Britain's Press Association and Reuters, Germany’s DPA, India's Indo-Asian News Service, Spain's EFE, Italy’s ANSA, Canada’s Canadian Press, China's Xinhua, the U.S. Associated Press, France's AFP and Japan's Kyodo news agency.