The meeting was preceded by an award ceremony. Nursultan Nazarbayev presented Vladimir Putin with the Order The First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev to mark the 25th anniversary of the Eurasian integration concept and the fifth anniversary of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, and also for his special contribution to the deepening and expansion of cooperation with the Republic of Kazakhstan.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev, strictly speaking, you should be awarded with this order in connection with today’s and tomorrow’s events, the fifth anniversary of our Union because you initiated and founded it.
First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: I award the Order to those who founded the Union. The three of us – you, Mr Lukashenko and I – did it together.
Vladimir Putin: Yes. We will continue working in the same vein.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: Here’s your Order and the document.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: Let’s start with this. We are very grateful that you found the time to come here and celebrate the birth of our common child – the Eurasian Economic Union.
Today I met with all of my colleagues and said: “No matter what anyone might say, whatever or whoever might cause discontent along the way, we cannot do without this Union.” If it did not exist we should have invented it. By and large this is a global fact. We have 184 million people, 14 percent of the world’s energy industry, 45 percent of the world’s uranium, agriculture and so on. No matter what anyone might say, 40 states want to join a free economic space with us. We have signed agreements with four of them. In other words, we need to develop it and the officials should work to remove many problems.
The three of us – you, Mr Lukashenko and I – signed the treaty on the Union and created it five years ago. Before that, 25 years ago I expressed this idea at MGU (Moscow State University). Much time has passed since then but this idea was probably good because we carried it out.
Vladimir Putin: Yes.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: A lot of water has passed under the bridge during this time. On the whole, it has been difficult. Everyone admits this and we do, too. But trade and the number of joint ventures are growing, and the Eurasian Economic Union should move further towards integration with the European Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and, if possible, with ASEAN and others. We must get going. I would like to thank you in advance for putting forward the initiative to load me with work, though I wanted to be released, and retain my position as honorary chairman. It is a great honour for me to do everything for our economic union to be a success. Thank you very much.
Please accept my congratulations on the award. I wish you every success in this difficult time and good health.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Mr Nazarbayev, for my part I would like to thank you for the award once again, and mainly for what has been done for integration and in our bilateral relations. Much credit goes to you for developing strategic cooperation between Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. Today and tomorrow we will certainly speak about what has already been done and what we should do in the near future.
But I would like to say that our main events are scheduled for tomorrow.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: For tomorrow.
Vladimir Putin: And we came to you tonight on your invitation, just for one consideration – our respect for you personally. Thank you very much for your invitation and for all that has been done until today.
I would like to express confidence, and hope, that we will continue working with you in your new capacity as honorary chairman of our association, and we will do much to promote bilateral relations between Russia and Kazakhstan and develop our integration association.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: Thank you. I believe the way we are building our mutual relations and interstate relations between Russia and Kazakhstan are a model for any state. Just how we built them.
Vladimir Putin: This is so indeed.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: And your personal attitude towards me and Kazakhstan is of enormous importance and is worth a lot. You supported my decision adopted on March 19 on this very day. This was important. And I told you that I made a well-considered decision, I thought a lot about it. And this building – The First President’s Centre was built in 2014. It has everything for my work: a library, a museum, the institute of world politics and the economy, archives and the Office of the First President. In other words, it has everything for me to remain in my office and here as the chairman of the national Security Council who determines the country’s foreign and domestic policy and deals with the top personnel of the state.