President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends,
I would like to begin by saying that I am very happy to see you and congratulate you on your new role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
With regard to bilateral relations, I want to note that although trade between our countries remains modest in absolute terms, it has been gaining momentum: last year we saw a 50% increase. It is very important that there is a positive outlook for the future. We are talking about the possibility of reaching the levels achieved by the Soviet Union, as well as new projects.
Cooperation in the humanitarian sphere is also continuing to develop: we have Afghan students studying in Russia.
In the event of acute crises, the Russian Emergencies Ministry has provided assistance on a number of occasions.
Afghan servicemen are being trained in Russia, and we are ready to provide support in establishing and upgrading Afghan security forces and military equipment.
We listened very attentively to your speech at the SCO Summit. We agree with your assessments and share your concerns.
I am very pleased to have this opportunity to meet with you and discuss the entire range of bilateral issues.
President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai: Thank you very much, Mr President.
Before we go on to our issues, congratulations on your election as the President of Russia, with all the best hopes that this will bring further prosperity and progress to Russia, which is a great neighbour of ours.
And this is further to express satisfaction of the blooming bilateral relations in the past ten years. You have very rightly indicated, our desire to see them become even better.
Indeed, Mr President, there is an endless array of arrangements and developments that the two countries can work together with regard to bilateral and regional issues. We are ready to discuss in all detail the issues that are of vital importance to both countries.