The meeting took place on the sidelines of the informal Commonwealth of Independent States summit.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev,
I am in the happy situation today of not having to describe the state of our relations. You are one of the initiators of the integration that has been taking place in the post-Soviet area and one of the people behind the creation of the Eurasian Economic Community and the Customs Union. The idea of the Eurasian Union, which I hope we will see realised in the future, also belongs to you.
I remember very clearly the time we met here in Moscow with your Prime Minister and some other colleagues a few years ago, and he brought with him your message on the need to establish the Customs Union. We started moving in precisely that direction in our integration efforts. I am very pleased that our common plans and ideas have been brought into fruition as real acts and that we now have an excellent springboard from which to keep moving further.
I am very pleased to see you and welcome you to Moscow. I am sure that we will continue to act and to move in this direction.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Thank you.
We are meeting today a week since your inauguration took place. Once more, I congratulate you and wish you success.
We are strategic allies, close neighbours and partners. I think that the relations between Russia and Kazakhstan set an example throughout the post-Soviet area of how close relations can develop.
The Customs Union has already produced results and we now have a trade turnover of $25 billion. Russia is one of our biggest trade partners. Our regional cooperation is developing too. In September, we will meet in Pavlodar, as agreed, given that our regions that share common borders account for 70 percent of our trade.
We have CIS and CSTO events taking place today. The CIS gave birth to the Eurasian Economic Community, which in turn produced the Customs Union. We therefore owe a debt of gratitude to the CIS, which, for all the different aspects and circumstances within it, poses no obstacle to anyone in any way.
Thank you for today’s meeting. I think that we will have the chance to discuss business matters at our later meetings. In any case, there are no big unresolved issues between us.
We have been following your first decisions and orders. Russia is turning its attention to Siberia. This is very good and this kind of development and effort is something that was long needed.
I recall the Soviet years, when, as head of Kazakhstan’s government I was a member of the Soviet government. Before construction of the BAM railway began we heard from Chairman of Gosplan [Soviet state planning agency] Nikolai Baibakov on how much natural wealth lies along this route and how many new cities would be built. All of the different Soviet republics took part in this construction effort, some building a section of the line, some building a station. We built the Chara station. But then the work fizzled out and came to a standstill. If this could all be revived again and put to Russia’s use it would indeed be a great endeavour. I wish you the greatest success.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
Aside from our joint integration projects, we also have good plans for our bilateral ties. We have, for example, the Joint Action Plan, which is essentially the roadmap for our relations’ development.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: Most important is that on May 25, we will mark the 20th anniversary of our fundamental agreement, the Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. Some of its provisions are now outdated, left behind now that we have created the Customs Union. I hope we will address this matter, make the necessary amendments and extend the agreement. I therefore invite you to come and visit me in Kazakhstan.
Vladimir Putin: It is an offer I accept with pleasure.