Presentation by foreign ambassadors of their letters of credence 2013-01-24 12:30:00 The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin received letters of credence from nineteen new ambassadors to the Russian Federation from Australia, the Republic of Benin, the Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Cuba, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of El Salvador, Estonia, the United States of Mexico, the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, New Zealand, the Sultanate of Oman, the Republic of the Philippines, Serbia, Spain, the Republic of the Sudan, the Kingdom of Swaziland, and Sweden. Following tradition, the presentation ceremony was held in the Grand Kremlin Palace's St Alexander Hall. * * * President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, I cordially welcome you to the Kremlin and congratulate you on the start of your honourable and responsible mission in Russia. I wish you every success and I would like to express the hope that you will actively contribute to the progressive development of relations between our countries. You can be certain that Russian ministries, departments and public organisations will provide you all the necessary assistance. We are meeting at the very beginning of 2013. For Russia, this year will be rich in important international events. Our country holds the presidency in the association of the world’s largest national economies, the G20. Given the challenges in the global economy, the growing sovereign debt problems, financial market instability and the crisis gripping the eurozone, naturally we are ready to make every effort to work together with our partners in the G20 to create conditions for the improvement of the overall situation and paving the path for the global economy’s sustained and long-term development. These are the stated priorities of the Russian Presidency, which I hope you are familiar with. Our aim is to promote investment, ensure the markets’ credibility and transparency and raise the efficiency of regulation. The G20 Summit will be held in St Petersburg on September 5–6, 2013. Before that, we will organise a series of meetings, which will be attended by ministers, experts, representatives of the business community and trade unions and the management of major international economic and financial organisations and regional bodies. Our approach to holding the G20 events and filling them with substantive content will be as responsible as our efforts during the Russian Presidency in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The achievements of the APEC Summit in Vladivostok have made a great contribution to deepening the integration processes in the Asia-Pacific region and establishing a more liberal trade and investment climate. We are planning to conduct in the same spirit the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, which will begin in a few days in Vladivostok and will be attended by legislators from 28 countries in the region. Russia’s presidency in international organisations will continue in 2014 and 2015, when we will host the summits of the G8, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Russia consistently supports the increasing openness in the world arena, the settlement of existing problems by political and diplomatic means, with full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality of all states. I believe that such an approach is particularly relevant at a time when international relations are facing a growing number of challenges and threats. Just look at what is happening in the Middle East and in Africa: the conflict in Syria has been ongoing for almost two years; the turmoil in Libya, accompanied by the uncontrolled proliferation of arms, contributed to the exacerbation of the situation in Mali. The tragic consequences of these events led to the terrorist attacks in Algeria that claimed the lives of civilians, including foreign nationals. I would like to stress that in such a difficult situation, Russia will continue to uphold the rule of law and the central role of the United Nations. Our country, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is fully aware of its responsibility for the maintenance of security in the world and is committed to joint efforts with our partners to tackle common challenges and to continue the unifying, positive agenda. Ladies and gentlemen, I will briefly describe Russia's relations with the countries whose representatives have presented me with their letters of credence today. I would like to note that there are excellent prospects for further deepening our relations with the Republic of the Philippines, especially in the economic sphere. We presume that specific projects will be included in the bilateral road map for trade and investment cooperation, which is currently being developed. Russia’s partnership with Spain is developing dynamically. This partnership is truly strategic and all-encompassing: we have fruitful contacts at various levels. Last summer, a great friend of our country, King Juan Carlos I, made a visit to our country, when he was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation for his outstanding achievements in the humanitarian sphere. We are ready to build a constructive relationship with the Republic of Estonia on the basis of friendship and respect for each other’s interests. We are neighbours and have many shared interests. We propose that we take full advantage of this positive potential. We are committed to moving forward our mutually beneficial contacts with the Republic of the Sudan. We will continue to take part in the collective international efforts to normalise the situation in Darfur. Our relations with the friendly Sultanate of Oman are growing stronger, including within the framework of the strategic dialogue between Russia and Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. We value our time-tested ties with the Arab Republic of Egypt. We hope that our Egyptian friends will be able to stabilise the domestic political situation and overcome the socioeconomic problems. We are looking forward to the visit of President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi. Overall we are satisfied with the state of our relations with Sweden. We consider it important to maintain a positive trend in the political dialogue and multilateral cooperation on the basis of a constructive search for solutions to problem areas. Our priorities include strengthening friendly cooperation in regional and international affairs. Our relations with the Republic of Croatia are expanding. We are working together on the implementation of the agreements in the energy sector, including the South Stream project. There are good prospects for increasing humanitarian and economic relations, including in the tourism sector. We call for a comprehensive development of relations with the Republic of El Salvador and welcome the opening of its embassy in Moscow in October 2012. Russia’s ties with Myanmar have traditionally been constructive. The Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation has just visited your country. In February, we will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. The interaction with the Republic of the Congo has increased. During the recent successful visit to Russia of President of the Congo Denis Sassou-Nguesso we signed important agreements, in particular, to promote cooperation in the energy sector and in the training of military personnel. Russia's relations with African countries are recovering and gaining momentum. This fully applies to relations with the Republic of Benin. Our immediate challenge is to form a solid contractual basis for our interaction in areas such as mining of minerals, water and medicine. We are satisfied with the development of Russian-Australian relations. We are involved in a constructive dialogue on international issues, including in the G20 format, where Australia will assume the presidency in 2014. We advocate the development of bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation. We are building up our relations with the Republic of Moldova in the spirit of traditional friendship and common cultural values that bind our nations. We are ready to expand contacts, both bilaterally and in the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States. We will do everything to facilitate the settlement of the Transnistrian issue. The Republic of Cuba is our old friend and partner in Latin America. I am confident that the strategic cooperation, and trade, economic, scientific, technical and humanitarian ties will continue to grow stronger. We welcome Cuba’s increasing role in regional affairs: this year Cuba holds the chairmanship of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. We view New Zealand as Russia’s valued partner in the Asia-Pacific and our relations are on the rise. Our priorities include the completion of negotiations on a free trade agreement between the Customs Union member states and New Zealand and the preparation of Prime Minister John Key’s visit. We are interested in further developing our comprehensive, traditionally constructive ties with Mexico, particularly in the areas of energy, engineering, agriculture and peaceful space exploration. We will continue active cooperation in multilateral forums. We are taking into account the experience of the Mexican G20 Presidency in 2012. As always, our relationship with Serbia, a country that is spiritually close to us, has a special place in Russian politics. We have established trustful political dialogues and are successfully implementing large-scale economic and investment projects. We will build on these joint efforts. Atmosphere of mutual understanding characterises our relations with the Kingdom of Swaziland. We will continue to help this country train personnel and will continue our dialogue on current African issues. Ladies and gentlemen, I want to emphasise that we attach great importance to our relations with each country. I am certain that you will feel this in your daily work. I hope that you will get to know our large country and everyday life in the regions. You have intensive but very interesting work ahead. I sincerely wish you success. Thank you.