President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues,
It is a pleasure to receive President Fernandez of the Argentine Republic in the Kremlin. This is his first visit to Russia.
During our businesslike and constructive talks, the President and I reviewed in detail the full range of bilateral relations. We discussed in practical terms potential areas for further developing the comprehensive strategic partnership of our countries. We also exchanged views on some current international and regional issues.
I would like to note that Argentina is one of Russia’s key partners in Latin America. For over 150 years, our countries have been united by kind, friendly relations that are based on equality, respect, and regard for each other’s interests. We are doing all we can to promote our close, mutually beneficial cooperation and look for new areas of interaction. As today’s meeting showed, the President shares this approach.
I would like to emphasise that Russia and Argentina maintain productive cooperation in combatting the spread of the coronavirus. Argentina was the first country in the Western Hemisphere to register the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. Russia has supplied Argentina with almost 15 million vaccine doses. In addition, an Argentine pharmaceutical company has produced over six million doses in Buenos Aires province where local production of the Russian vaccine is based.
We are pleased to note that despite the difficult situation caused by the pandemic, Russia and Argentina are developing economic ties. Bilateral trade increased by 50 percent during the past year.
There are good opportunities for stepping up bilateral investment cooperation. Russian and Argentine businesses are interested in working with each other.
Last December, a big Russian business mission visited Argentina. They held talks with a broad range of Argentine partners and the President personally welcomed our entrepreneurs in Buenos Aires, for which we are grateful to him.
The relevant intergovernmental commission has to step up its efforts to promote and diversify bilateral economic cooperation. The Russian-Argentine and Argentine-Russian business councils also have a big role to play in developing business ties. These two councils discussed promising ideas for cooperation at their regular videoconference the other day.
I would like to mention the participation of the Russian company Transmashholding in upgrading railways in Argentina as an example of successful bilateral cooperation. Recently, this Russian company won a big tender for the supply of electric trains. Importantly, local production in Argentina will amount to up to 25 percent of the total. In addition, Russian companies are ready to join the implementation of other projects in railway infrastructure, such as supplies of rolling stock and other equipment.
In turn, Rosatom is willing to offer Argentina assistance in further developing its power industry.
There exist good opportunities for promoting cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. They were created when the relevant intergovernmental protocol entered in force in December 2020.
We see considerable potential for expanding cooperation in geological prospecting, construction and maintenance of energy and oil-and-gas infrastructure, renewable energy, the chemical industry and machine building, to name a few.
We are enhancing interbank cooperation. In 2020, the central banks of Russia and Argentina signed a memorandum on cooperation. Commercial banks are upgrading their contacts.
Bilateral cultural and humanitarian ties are making good progress. The Cinema Online project was launched virtually by the Russian House [Russian Science and Culture Centre] in Buenos Aires in 2021. It hosts weekly screenings of the best Soviet and Russian films. The Russia Today media holding is successfully operating in Argentina.
And, of course, I would like to say special thanks to the President for his support of Moscow’s bid for the EXPO-2030 World Fair.
The exchange of views on global and regional problems showed that Russia and Argentina hold similar or identical positions on many issues. Our countries firmly uphold the principles of the supremacy of international law, sovereignty, independence, and non-interference in the domestic affairs of foreign states. We agreed to continue coordinating our efforts on key multilateral issues at international venues, including the UN.
We are ready to step up efforts to expand ties between integration associations, above all, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), and to cooperate more closely within the G20.
In closing, I would like to thank Mr Fernandez for the focused, candid and substantive dialogue. I am convinced that today’s exchange of views and talks will serve to further strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership between our countries.
Both Mr Fernandez and I will participate in the opening ceremony for the 24th Olympic Winter Games in Beijing tomorrow. I would like to wish good luck and success to Russian and Argentine athletes.
President of the Argentine Republic Alberto Fernandez (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President.
It was a great honour for me to meet with you today.
We had a very candid and open conversation on matters that our countries are addressing as part of the bilateral agenda. Both countries support the logic of multilateral cooperation and a multipolar world.
Argentina owes a debt of gratitude to the Russian Federation, because Russia was the first country to make sure that Argentina received the coronavirus vaccine. This help made it possible for us to be the first to gain access to the Russian Sputnik vaccine, which helped us mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our people.
Based on this, we can expand our technology cooperation. Together, we can launch the production of not only vaccines, but other products as well. This could involve Russian investment in Argentina. We can ensure the exchange of technology, or the transfer of technology, so that Argentina can continue to industrialise its economy.
We spoke about things that President Putin addressed in depth. This, of course, concerns cooperation in railway infrastructure, trains, cooperation in the energy sector, gas production, and innovative technologies in the energy sector, such as solar and wind energy.
We spoke about the opportunities offered by Argentina and exchanged views on the circumstances in which the world and our region are now living. I asked President Putin to make full use of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement that Argentina signed with Russia in 2015 and to deepen our cooperation so that it becomes an effective reality and Argentina and Russia can gradually expand ties.
I am leaving Moscow very happy today. I am grateful to President Putin for the hospitality. I wish I could stay several days more and continue this wonderful visit, but tomorrow I will see the President of Russia at the Winter Olympic Games.
Thank you again.
I am absolutely sure that we are taking a very important step forward in deepening the fraternal ties between Argentina and Russia for the benefit of both countries.