President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Can you hear me?
President of the Argentine Republic Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (retranslated): Good afternoon, I can hear you very well.
Vladimir Putin: It is a pleasure to see and hear you, Madam President.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner: It is also a great pleasure for me, Mr President, to speak to you on the occasion the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Argentina. It really is a pleasure to talk to you like this.
I would like to express my admiration of your outstanding address at the UN General Assembly. Your speech was wonderful. It may have gone beyond the standard diplomatic language and rules of international relations, when people say one thing and do another. Your sincerity and consistency appealed to me when a short while later you became actively involved in the struggle against international terrorism.
Vladimir Putin: Gracias. Thank you.
Madam President, it is a great pleasure to see and hear you.
I am very happy to have this chance to speak with you, Madam President, especially because today, as you said, is the day when we mark 130 years since Argentina and Russia established diplomatic relations.
I note that even in those far-off days, Russians moving to Argentina built excellent traditions of mutual respect and friendship between our countries. The interlinking of cultures that took place back then helped to bring our peoples spiritually closer together. It was not by chance that the first Orthodox church in South America was built by Russians in Buenos Aires in 1889, and was given the status of Imperial Diplomatic Mission.
Argentina is home today to the biggest Russian community in Latin America – more than 300,000 people. I am genuinely grateful for the support of our compatriots and for the fact that you help them to preserve their language and cultural traditions.
The solid foundation we have established in our bilateral relations over past years enables us today to develop with success our strategic partnership and strengthen business, cultural and humanitarian ties for the benefit of our countries and peoples. You have certainly made a personal contribution to this, Madam President.
Argentina continues to be one of Russia’s biggest partners in the Latin American region. Even at the height of the Cold War, in 1955, Argentina hosted the first USSR Industrial Exhibition in Latin America.
Today, we give priority attention to developing our trade and economic cooperation and carrying out big joint projects in sectors such as hydroelectricity, peaceful nuclear energy and hydrocarbon production. There are good prospects ahead in all of these areas.
We have already achieved agreements on building a hydroelectric power plant in Argentina. The investment volume will be around $2 billion. Russia’s Rosatom is holding talks on building the sixth energy bloc for the Atucha Nuclear Power Plant. Gazprom is starting work on producing, transporting and distributing natural gas in Argentina.
Another Russian company, Zarubezhneft, plans to set up production of oil extraction equipment in Argentina, while the Trolza company will be opening an electric bus assembly centre.
We have good prospects in agriculture. Argentinian companies are broadening their presence on the Russian market, and we are very happy about this.
For our part, we will create comfortable conditions for Argentinian agribusinesses. Last year, for example, we agreed on a certificate for importing high-quality beef from Argentina with our partners in the European Union.
We are strengthening cooperation in law enforcement. Recently, the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters was submitted to the State Duma, the Russian Parliament, for ratification. This document’s entry into force will help us effectively fight transnational crime.
We are seeing good momentum in our cultural ties and contacts. We are holding mutual Days of Culture on the anniversary of our diplomatic ties. In Moscow, an exhibition on Eva Peron, a famous Argentinian public figure, is enjoying great popularity, as is the traditional Argentine tango festival.
Incidentally, we recently watched you dancing at a political event. I think it only added to the political landscape of your nation. You did this wonderfully and very elegantly, and I think that it was entirely in the Argentine style. On that note, I would like to say that the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres, as well as the Moscow State Academic Symphony Orchestra, recently toured Argentina.
I am pleased that the Spanish version of the Russia Today television channel is becoming increasingly popular in Argentina. We launched its broadcast together more than a year ago.
Russia and Argentina cooperate closely in the UN and the G20. Our nations consistently uphold the fundamental principles of international law. First and foremost, these are respecting national sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, rejection of terrorism and extremism, double standards and sanction policies.
Madam President, we saw that you and your nation fought for Argentina’s interest in the dispute over financial matters.
We welcome the Argentinian initiative to develop common rules for justly restructuring sovereign nations’ debts. In September, Russia supported Argentina’s draft resolution on this matter at the UN General Assembly.
As I already said, we share Argentina’s firm and principled stand opposing international speculative funds, whose actions are based on decisions by purely national US courts.
On October 25, Argentina will hold new presidential and parliamentary elections. I expect that the new Argentinian leadership will continue your course to strengthen the multifaceted partnership ties with Russia.
Please allow me to wish you good health and all-around success, and to wish the people of Argentina wellbeing and prosperity.
I am very happy, Madam President, that we were able to talk today, at the time when we are celebrating the anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between our nations.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner: Thank you, Mr President. I also cannot help recalling how you mentioned that it was Argentina that received the largest number of Russian immigrants when you were talking to our Minister of the Economy Axel Kicillof after he said that his grandfather, or rather great grandfather came from Odessa and that he was of Russian descent. True, there are many immigrants on the territory of Argentina, and Russian immigrants made a significant contribution to the development of culture in our country.
You mentioned all the projects that have united us since the creation of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the Argentine Republic and the Russian Federation, in particular, the construction of the Chihuido-1 hydropower plant in Neuquén Province, the project to build a new block of the nuclear power plant, very important negotiations between Gazprom and YPF that are now in their final stage, as well as investment projects in machine building and oil production. As you may know, Mr President, our country ranks second in the world in shale gas and forth in shale oil reserves.
Also of great importance is our cooperation in science and technology, which we intend to develop, as well as the complementary nature of our economies and, most importantly, our common vision of the multi-polar world structure based on partnership and cooperation between states rather than subordination. This is the nature of our strategic agreements.
You mentioned our positions on international platforms (we are members of the G20 and UN), as well as Argentina’s initiative to develop common debt restricting rules for sovereign states.
We thank the Russian Federation for its support, along with the 135 other nations that voted in the UN General Assembly in favour of the world stopping speculation and returning to production, work, industrial development, science and technology developments that serve as locomotives for growth and development. Our positions also align in that there cannot be double standards in diplomatic relations and we are decisively fighting against international terrorism.
I think that the partnership model like the one between Argentina and Russia serves as an example for the entire world which is still divided into those who obey the decisions of the powers that be or are forced to concede to them. I think this era has come to an end. The world has become multipolar and has opened new possibilities.
As for the 130th anniversary since the establishment of Russian-Argentinian diplomatic relations, I would like to point out that the renewal of relations between the Soviet Union and Argentina, which were disrupted after the 1917 revolution, occurred during the presidency of Juan Peron, in 1946. This is very significant.
I also want to note the excellent organisation of the celebrations in Moscow honouring the 70th anniversary of Victory over fascism, in which the Russian Federation played a very important role. 26 million Russian people – soldiers and peaceful civilians – died during the years of World War II in the fight against fascism.
I would also like to say that Moscow’s History Museum organised a wonderful exhibition dedicated to Eva Peron. We greatly appreciate that opportunity. But before it opened, I had the honour to visit the exhibition on the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, located in another wing of the building.
I want to note that our nations have always stood together for freedom, democracy and a more equitable multipolar world where all nations should respect the sovereignty of other nations, where some states will not interfere in the domestic affairs of others, and sovereignty, which means that each nation and each society has the right to choose its own politics and its own model of socioeconomic development without the need to accept conditions imposed by other nations. If we achieve this understanding on the global scale, through the creation of such partnerships, I am absolutely confident that the 21st century will be better than the 20th.
Before we part, I want to once again thank you for the special attitude you have always shown my country which, I hope, will not change. You know that elections will be held in Argentina next Sunday. I am sure that whoever wins them will continue to deepen this cooperation, because I am absolutely certain that in the new world, new partners should not replace the old but they are just as important as the old ones. They are especially important when talking about specific cooperation, investments, as demonstrated through the Chiuidos Hydropower Plant, as well as the sixth energy block of the Atucha Nuclear Power Plant.
Mr President, I am confident that Argentina will continue to follow this path, because it bears fruit. The tree bore fruit and we need to continue watering it and caring for it.
I wish you health, as well as health and happiness to the Russian people. We will see each other soon at one of the international forums.
Have a good evening. Although it is not evening here yet; it is noon and I have not yet eaten. I don’t imagine I will have as delicious a meal as the one I had at the Kremlin. I will never forget it and I was recently recalling the meal during our conversation with the Foreign Minister. It is an indicator of friendship, respect, and the fact that Russia is important to Argentina, and Argentina is important to Russia.
Thank you, President Putin, I value the role you play on the international arena very highly.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. I hope you enjoy your meal.
And I want to note that thanks to increasing agricultural product supplies from Argentina to Russia (these supplies are growing; during the first half of this year alone, Russia imported nearly 2,500 tonnes of beef from Argentina), thanks to our cooperation, we in Russia also have the opportunity to eat well, using Argentinian products.
But as we say, not by bread alone. We are grateful to you for supporting our cultural ties. I know that Buenos Aires is one of the few global capitals that holds a yearly festival in the central streets called Mother Russia. This is certainly a nice gesture on the part of Argentinian authorities. We are very grateful to you. I hope that our relations will continue to develop in all areas.
Thank you very much. I look forward to meeting at one of the international platforms.
All the best.