The two leaders discussed key topics on the bilateral agenda as well as current regional issues.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, friends,
We hold these meetings regularly, and they have yielded some results. In just 11 months of 2018, our trade grew by almost 29.5 percent, reaching a total of $1.38 billion – more than in the whole of 2017.
At your request, we took additional decisions concerning fruit and vegetable and wine products. Now we can say that these decisions – as reflected in the Government resolution – will remain in force until March, 2019. Together, we will monitor the progress and take further decisions.
We also took another decision concerning labour migration to support those who never seriously violated Russia’s migration laws.
You surely have some questions. Please, go ahead. We are very glad to see you today, and are ready to discuss any issue that you believe to be of vital importance for the development of Russian-Moldovan relations, which I know you work very hard to promote.
President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon: Mr President, colleagues,
First, I am very glad that the foreign policy agenda of the President of Moldova starts this year with a visit to the Russian Federation. We maintain dialogue for the sake of our continued strategic partnership.
As you know, we consider Russia our strategic partner. Our peoples have always had fraternal relations that have been tested by centuries.
Incidentally, this year we will celebrate in Moldova, under the President’s patronage, the 75th anniversary of the country's liberation from the Nazis. I am referring to the famous Jassy–Kishinev Operation that was executed at a very high level.
This year we in Moldova will celebrate the 660th anniversary of Moldovan statehood.
As you noted, trade between our countries is developing very dynamically. I would like to thank you for supporting our initiative to zero out customs duties on five commodity items starting January 1. This will provide considerable support to our producers.
Now a few words about migrant workers: the measures that have been adopted concern 170,000 our citizens and I am hoping that our citizens will use this opportunity to come home and then return to the Russian Federation without any problems.
I would also like to tell you that in the next few weeks the first batch of Russian equipment, KAMAZ trucks, which we agreed upon – I asked you and you consented – will arrive in Moldova for municipal enterprises throughout the whole of our country: both in the north and south.
One question has arisen on trade and I hope we will discuss it today – it concerns the transit of some categories of our goods via Ukrainian territory. We will discuss this in more detail today.
I would like to thank you for the Russian Federation’s consistent position on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova.
As you know, the leader of Transnistria and I have a very good dialogue – I had five meetings with him and the last one took place right before the New Year.
We resolved many issues that had remained outstanding and will keep moving forward on them. Of course, everything will depend on the results of the parliamentary elections.
Vladimir Putin: When will elections take place?
Igor Dodon: On February 24.
We decided that the office of the President will not be involved in this campaign. Let the parties vie for parliamentary mandates but the President will not take part in the election campaign.
I would also like to thank you for our cooperation at international venues. Last year we received the status of EAEU observer. I think this is a very good opportunity that we should use to the utmost in the commercial interests of our countries.
We are watching very closely what is happening in the CIS. I am sure we will continue our productive cooperation within it and at other venues.
Vladimir Putin: Needless to say, we in Russia are not indifferent to the future Moldovan Parliament because it forms the country’s Government and the future development of Russia-Moldova relations will largely depend on this, as well as the future Government’s support of the initiatives made by the President of Moldova on the development of our bilateral ties.
Igor Dodon: Russia is considered a friendly country by 65 percent of our population. We are hoping that the opinion of the people will be clearly reflected in the future Parliament. But it is up to the people to decide…