President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends, good afternoon. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to meet with you on the sidelines of the SCO summit.
We know that you have long been engaged in international affairs and in helping to settle Afghanistan’s fate. Working with the United Nations, you took part in drafting the Berlin Declaration on Afghanistan. We are very pleased that someone as experienced as you is heading the country now and we sense the continuity in your work.
Our relations have gone through various periods, but over these last decades, Russia and Afghanistan have developed what are undoubtedly ties between friendly countries.
We are active in coordinating our work on the international stage and we share a common view of the need to fight terrorism. You know that we support full normalisation of the situation in Afghanistan and establishment of the conditions needed for steady growth. Our two countries have established an intergovernmental commission.
Our bilateral trade increased considerably last year. True, it dropped sharply at the start of this year, but we can of course analyse the reasons for this and map out the next steps for developing our cooperation.
President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani (retranslated): Your Excellency, Mr President, I am quite happy that we have a chance to meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s summit.
Allow me to thank you for your successful work during Russia’s chairmanship of this prestigious organisation. As I already said earlier, there are many opportunities for cooperation on the regional level, and one of those opportunities is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which you have led this year.
I also congratulate you for the fact that the Russian Federation has achieved truly positive, confident stability under your leadership. I was in the Russian Federation between 1996 and 1999 and witnessed how the economic situation was not very stable; but now, the situation has changed for the better. It is reassuring that such a major state has overcome this situation, and gives us confidence that we will also overcome our economic difficulties.
We consider the Russian Federation to be our strategic partner and our neighbour. Without consolidating our efforts with the Russian Federation to stabilise the region, we cannot achieve stability. And in this respect, we count on cooperation with such economic giants as the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of India, including in fighting terrorism and other troubles in our region. The dangers are common for all of us, so I will not repeat myself. We will seek joint approaches that can lead us to effective methods for fighting terrorism and drug trafficking.