President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues, media representatives,
We have just ended this third meeting of our four countries’ leaders, and I would like to thank the President of Tajikistan for its successful organisation.
These meetings have provided us with a useful mechanism for discussing current regional cooperation issues, fighting terrorism and extremism, and economic cooperation too, of course. We discussed all of these various matters today.
I want to say a few words about the work done since the meeting in Sochi. We set up a joint working group on trade and economic development. It met in Moscow recently and is now examining business plans for big regional projects and also looking at drawing up a roadmap of the proposals for carrying out projects between our four countries, or involving other parties as well, in these areas. I am sure that if we get this roadmap ready it will help us to pursue our economic development with even greater success.
But it is time to move from words to action. This is also something we spoke about today. We have a number of projects long since on the table, but they have been going nowhere, and the time has come to actually carry them out. One of them is the energy sector project, CASA-1000, which involves building an electricity transmission line from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Russia is ready to take part in this project and invest considerable money in it (hundreds of millions of dollars), but the necessary organisational decisions would have to be made first, and we would have to be invited to take part.
There are also plans for big gas transit projects, in particular, the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline project, in which we are also ready to take part. Of course, we are also ready to take part in the kinds of bilateral projects that Russia has traditionally carried out together with the friendly countries here today.
We discussed regional security of course, including cooperation in preventing terrorism and extremism. The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is extremely important in this respect. We welcome the efforts that our friendly neighbours are making. I note too the vital importance of the efforts Pakistan has been making to fight terrorists and their infrastructure. We hope these efforts will continue and bring the hoped-for results.
Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, we discussed the national reconciliation process currently underway in this country, the Kabul Process, including the transfer of responsibility to Afghanistan itself for security in its own country.
One of the main tasks now is probably to improve the Afghan armed forces’ combat capability so that they can ensure their country’s defence and fight extremist groups and drug trafficking together with other forces, and ultimately on their own.
Before coming to see you here, we discussed the situation in the region and our views of developments. I think we all agree that, ultimately, responsibility for what happens in the region rests upon our countries: Russia, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The partners helping us to resolve various problems in the region today play an important part too, of course, and a lot depends on them today, but they are nonetheless powers from outside the region. We therefore must reflect on how to strengthen the cooperation between our countries so as to help us build up our ability to ultimately guarantee the region’s peace and security through our own efforts, otherwise much of the work being done now to guarantee security could turn out in vain.
Colleagues, our discussion today confirmed that we share close approaches to resolving the region’s problems and similar views on our own roles in these efforts. I therefore hope that this dialogue, which has a good foundation now, will continue with all of the countries present today, and with the involvement of the regional organisations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and other groups that we think could make a useful contribution.
Once again, I thank my colleagues for what was an interesting and substantive discussion, and I hope that these meetings will continue, allowing us to resolve the various problems before us.