The presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan took part in an informal meeting of the heads of CIS states yesterday.
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Transcript of meeting with President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev,
I am delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with you and discuss bilateral relations yesterday during our joint informal meeting with all our colleagues from the CIS countries, and also to continue our joint work today.
To begin with, I would like to note that the relations between Kazakhstan and Russia are going from strength to strength. Our trade grew by over 34 percent in the first ten months of the year. This is a major step forward.
However, strictly speaking, this is not the most important thing. Perhaps, not even the fact that we have invested over $10 billion in accumulated direct investment in the economy of Kazakhstan. What is important is that we are transitioning to another level in our relations.
Just now, we discussed with our colleagues and you energy issues and our relations in space exploration, I mean not just the use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, but also Kazakhstan’s advancement on the way of acquiring new competencies as well as innovative technology.
However, no less important, and perhaps an even more important thing that looks towards the future, is our cooperation in high-tech industries and digital technology. We are grateful to you for your initiative to introduce in Kazakhstan a meeting of specialists at a high level of expertise in the development of digital technology.
In general, I would like to say that Kazakhstan has been and remains our key partner in the sphere of the economy and, of course, our strategic partner in general, meaning in the field of security and ensuring the defence capability of our states.
With this in mind, I want to wish you and the entire nation of Kazakhstan every success and all the very best in 2018.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Mr Putin, thank you for inviting me to this meeting.
Yesterday we had a trust-based meeting with our CIS colleagues, and a free exchange of opinions as well as a very intensive review of the outgoing year. The main thing we pointed out is peace, tranquillity and stability in the CIS countries which allows our citizens to work and raise their children calmly.
It was not an easy year for Russia. We all know about the sanctions policy and the war in Syria, which Russia joined at the request of the Syrian Government. This victorious war, which was waged under your guidance, has restored Russia’s pride and has shown that Russia is a power that can be in charge of peace around the world. Kazakhstan is pleased about this as Russia’s closest neighbour, partner and ally.
We have met several times this year. There are no unsettled questions between our countries. Over the 26 years of their independence, both Russia and Kazakhstan grew ever closer together and created a legal framework for normal cooperation.
We have become convinced of the possibility and necessity of developing cooperation within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). When people ask me what we need the EAEU or the Customs Union for, I reply that if there had been customs borders between Europe and America, Columbus would not have travelled to America and Marco Polo would not have reached China via Kazakhstan. Many years after those feats, we have opened the borders and have seen the benefits of this.
Our trade and cooperation are growing. We have come to an agreement on all complicated questions, such as the border, the Caspian Sea, as well as the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which Russia intends to use for many years to come. We are working on new projects at Baikonur, such as new rockets and new, more eco-friendly fuel. Our interregional meeting [the Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum] in Chelyabinsk brings joy to our people, who have always lived and will continue to live side by side, because this is how God has decided to place our countries and our people.
I believe that my task is to strengthen our relations as well as to further develop them before handing them over to my successor. The New Year is only a few days away, a pleasant time and we are all waiting. The year 2018 will be a very important, though a challenging year for Russia.
It will be the year of the presidential elections. I do not want to be ahead of the situation, but I have the right to have an opinion and to speak out freely. Here it is: I do not see any other leader for Russia at this point of time. You have proved the ability to stand up against pressure, to develop the economy, to create conditions for the people and to move to a new development level. You have proved your ability to do all of this.
I am sure that the Russian people will make the right choice. Let me put it bluntly: Kazakhstan is on your side.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: I wish you every success and all the very best!
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Russian people a happy New Year. Let it be the best year, and let it bring joy to every family and every person, as well as satisfaction with their life and occupation. I also wish prosperity to the Russian people and the Russian state.