President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias (retranslated):
Your Excellency, President of the Russian Federation and my good friend, Mr Medvedev,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the organisers of this Business Forum – the chambers of commerce and industry of Cyprus and the Russian Federation, as well as the Peoples’ Friendship Association – for this wonderfully organised event, and the business circles of Russia for participating in this Forum.
This Forum was organised on the occasion of the President of the Russian Federation Mr Medvedev’s official visit to Cyprus. This is the first official visit of the President of the Russian Federation to Cyprus. This visit is giving new momentum to broadening and strengthening cooperation and partnership at all levels: in economic development as well as the investment processes.
Cyprus has a leading position among Russia’s international investors. The high quality of our economic cooperation has been proven through the efforts applied from our end to support entrepreneurial and business circles, as well as the efforts made by the governments of both nations, which are giving this development a great deal of attention.
Not long ago, we signed a number of documents, including memoranda concerning various sectors of the economy: on developing equity markets, strengthening the legislative foundation for all sectors of the economy, and various conventions and agreements – for example, on avoiding double taxation. These agreements and developments are truly quite important for us and for expanding business relations between two states, and they will promote the growth of the private sector of the economy and cooperation between the countries.
This Business Forum is being held at a time when the world and global economies are trying to overcome the effects of the international crisis. Naturally, we were unable to avoid the negative effects of this crisis, but nevertheless, the certainty with which we cooperate with one another gives us the opportunity and hope that we will quickly overcome this crisis situation. Furthermore, Cyprus is committed to providing all opportunities and opening all pathways for strengthening and broadening cooperation between our two nations.
In conclusion, I would like to express my certainty that as a result of this Forum, our economic relations, economic ties, and ties between our peoples will be further strengthened.
Thank you for your initiatives and best of luck.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, colleagues,
I am very happy that the first visit by the President of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Cyprus coincides with a Business Forum as important as the one taking place here today. I see it as having particular significance. We have very good relations, we have a mutual understanding on nearly all international issues, we have a shared history, we have spiritual kinship, and we have the present day. What is the present day? The present day means business, professional contacts, and the economic ties that exist between our states and between thousands of people who are working to develop the economies of both our nations.
What has happened recently? Mr President just mentioned that we had a crisis. Indeed, it wasn’t good news for anyone, but at the same time, this year is already much better: we are seeing positive changes in our bilateral economic relations. I reviewed some statistics, and even the turnover between our countries has grown, as a matter of fact, by 250 percent. Granted, we still have things left to do, both in terms of balancing that turnover and in terms of diversifying it, but overall, this is very positive.
Today, Mr President and I did not waste any time; 15 documents were signed. A significant portion of those documents concerns you, representatives of the business community, because they either create a solid foundation for the future for doing business, or set a vector of progress, including the Programme of Action for the next three years and memoranda on new, joint projects that we will be developing.
In addition, I cannot avoid making note of an issue that has, for a long time, been at the centre of attention and which we were also able to resolve today – the new version of the document that Mr President spoke about. I am referring to the agreement on avoiding double taxation. This document is certainly important in that Cyprus is one of the main channels for attracting financial flows to the Russian Federation. And in that regard, we must do everything so that these types of ties are legally calibrated, clear, transparent, and comfortable for businesses as well as the governments.
Friends, I hope that as a result of your interactions, we will have an additional influx of mutual investments and additional opportunities for making business contacts. I expect that both nations’ chambers of commerce and industry, which are working on intensifying this kind of activity, will help you develop such links.
I would like to wish you all success, and express my hope that the difficulties of this crisis period will end, and that a wide road will open up ahead of you, leading to the promotion of interactions between our states and the development of business contacts. In any case, as heads of states we will try to do everything possible to ensure this. That is precisely the aim of the decisions made today during the official visit of the President of the Russian Federation to Cyprus.
Thank you very much and good luck.