President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rahmon, I am very happy to see you.
This time you have come in connection with Victory Day and are here in Russia both as President of Tajikistan and Head of the CSTO, because this year Tajikistan presides over our joint organisation.
This is our common holiday. Thank you for finding time to come here. I know that during the Great Patriotic War almost one third of all the Tajikistanis who left for the war did not come back; they perished. There are a lot of Heroes of the Soviet Union from Tajikistan as well as full recipients of the Order of Glory. I know that you personally regard this day as a sacred holiday and do your utmost so that people in Tajikistan always remember this. This is our common Victory, our common holiday.
Of course, during your visit we will have a chance to discuss bilateral relations as well. I am pleased to note that Russia remains Tajikistan’s primary trade and economic partner, although bilateral trade has decreased a little due to the pandemic. But I am confident there is every reason to believe it will be restored and will develop further. We have excellent projects.
There is, of course, an important issue you always raise: the issue of labour migrants. I know that this is a sensitive matter for Tajikistan. We do everything we can to make people feel comfortable, moreover, entire economic sectors in Russia currently lack workers. People also send quite a lot of their earnings back home to support their families. I believe this process is absolutely positive.
Speaking about regional issues, this year Tajikistan is also holding a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and will preside over it. Russia will do everything it can to support you in this work.
Finally, regional security is a very important topic due to the developments in Afghanistan, with which Tajikistan has the longest common border. I know that you are strongly concerned over this, and, of course, these concerns are not groundless. I am interested to learn your opinion on how you see these events developing. Russia is doing everything it can to support you. There is base 201 of the Russian Armed Forces in Tajikistan, and we are working on both strengthening it and the Tajikistani armed forces. We maintain joint activities in this area, including an entire programme designed to be in effect for several years, and we will do everything to implement it as scheduled.
It is a pleasure to see you. Welcome.
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon: Thank you, Mr Putin.
First, thank you very much once again for the invitation. I would like to congratulate you and the entire friendly nation of Russia on the Great Victory. Victory Day is a great holiday for our peoples.
Today Russian-Tajikistani relations are developing dynamically in all areas of cooperation. Russia is our main trade and economic partner, while our ties in culture are also strengthening. I would like to single out our close cooperation in security. Our relations within the CIS, SCO and CSTO continue to develop.
Today, Mr Putin, I am ready to discuss our current bilateral relations and their future, as well as the international and regional matters you have mentioned, above all the issue of security. Today it is the regional issue number one considering the US statements about the withdrawal of their troops: it has withdrawn more than a half of them, and tensions in Afghanistan have quickly escalated.
We have the longest common border with Afghanistan: almost 60 percent of the former Soviet Union’s common border. You know that we have very tricky mountainous terrain.
Vladimir Putin: We are talking about 1,300 km, aren’t we?
Emomali Rahmon: Yes, Tajikistan accounts for over 60 percent.
Thank you very much for inviting me to attend the parade tomorrow as the CSTO Chair. Also, as the Chair at the SCO anniversary summit, I would like to inform you that preparations are currently in full swing and we would like to discuss some of these details with you. We are also preparing to hold the CSTO summit in Dushanbe.
Thank you very much.