President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon: Members of the press,
We see this visit by President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev as a historic milestone in the modern history of relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Russian Federation.
The talks were conducted in the businesslike and trusting spirit that characterises our intergovernmental relations.
Continuing with our ongoing political contacts we discussed a number of regional and international issues. Tajikistan and Russia both wish to continue to develop and broaden our political contacts and also strengthen our military-technical cooperation, based on our common responsibility for stability and security in Central Asia.
Our countries are natural strategic partners and allies. The character of our relations requires us to coordinate and give mutual support to our actions at home and on the international stage with regard to regional and global issues. This also applies to the measures Russia is taking in the Caucasus. At the same time, I think it necessary to declare that political and diplomatic efforts are preferable as a means of conflict resolution.
Overall, we give a positive assessment to the way relations between our countries are developing. We noted the close cooperation between our countries’ law enforcement agencies on combating terrorism, drugs trafficking and trans-national organised crime.
We have agreed on serious work together in the field of military-technical cooperation. I think my friend the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Anatolyevich will give more detail on this in his statement.
We also discussed in detail the factors holding back our cooperation. Above all, we affirmed the need to step up our trade and economic cooperation and we were unanimous in saying that we are not making full use of our potential in this area. We have decided to make fuller use of the existing opportunities to increase our bilateral trade, carry out joint economic projects and organise close cooperation in all different areas.
You all know that more than 120 Russian companies are working successfully in Tajikistan today, carrying out a whole range of big projects in the energy sector, oil and gas production, the mining industry and infrastructure.
More than 40 percent of all direct investment in Tajikistan last year was of Russian origin. This represents more than $160 million. We agree that we need to increase our turnover and cooperation in these sectors and develop our cooperation, especially in hydroelectricity, industry and the agriculture sector.
We paid particular attention during our talks to the question of deepening our cultural and humanitarian cooperation. This includes opening in Tajikistan branches of leading Russian higher education establishments such as the Moscow Power Engineering Institute (MPEI) and the Saint-Petersburg State Mining Institute. It is not by chance therefore that most of the documents signed today concern precisely this area of our bilateral relations. I am sure they will help us to develop our contacts in this most important area.
Dmitry Anatolyevich and I also agreed and instructed our respective ministries and agencies to prepare and organise the opening of a branch of Moscow State University in Dushanbe next year, and two more branches by 2010.
The Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation will work on all the practical aspects of implementing these agreements.
We also discussed ways to make the CIS, Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Eurasian Economic Community, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the other structures working in the post-Soviet area more effective and agreed to continue coordinating our efforts in this area.
We examined other issues of mutual interest – the fight against terrorism, extremism and drugs trafficking, our military and political contacts, and the situation in Afghanistan. We expressed our support for the peace process in Afghanistan.
In conclusion I would like to say that I am very satisfied with the talks that have taken place. I think that this official visit by the head of state of Russia, our friend, will open a new page in the rich history of relations between our countries.
It is now my great pleasure to give the floor to Dmitry Anatolyevich.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Emomali Sharipovich.
Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues,
This is my first visit to Tajikistan and I want to say directly that I am completely happy with the results and with the spirit that has prevailed here. It is very clear that we have noted one simple truth – that relations between Russia and Tajikistan are showing dynamic, steady and confident growth.
During these talks with my colleague, Emomali Sharipovich Rakhmon, we discussed in detail the most important issues in our bilateral cooperation. We concentrated on trade and economic cooperation during these last few hours because this is the defining area for the overall state of our relations and for the prosperity of our peoples.
The President of Tajikistan said just now that we have agreed to do everything we can to increase our trade relations and trade turnover. We have already achieved good results this year, but it is clear that we are still not making full use of the potential for cooperation our countries have.
We continue to work on major bilateral projects, the flagship of which is our projects in the hydroelectricity sector. I am referring of course to the construction of the Sangtudin Hydropower Station, which is going ahead successfully and will be completed just as successfully according to schedule. But our construction plans do not end there. We have decided to take an active part in building new facilities, and Russian companies will take part in building three new power-generating facilities on internal waterways in Tajikistan.
This is our proposal. We discussed it and Tajikistan supports it. We will also be involved in building the Rogun Hydropower Station. Our working groups are in the process of settling the final form this cooperation will take. At the same time, our work together is already underway in a number of areas in this project. Documents were signed yesterday and work is beginning.
We want to take part in geological prospecting and exploration in Tajikistan, at existing and new sites, in particular for subsequent production and possible processing of energy raw materials – gas and uranium. In this respect we see good prospects for the Russian companies such as Gazprom, INTER RAO UES, Rosatom and others that will work in this area.
The Government of Tajikistan has already taken the relevant decisions on cooperation in the gas sector and work will begin. I am sure that if we can work as we should Tajikistan will be producing its own gas within 2–2.5 years.
We also have new plans to expand our cooperation in production, science and technology. The Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation has a leading role to play in this area. The commission met recently (two weeks ago), and I hope that it will continue active work, meet regularly and make all the decisions needed for our work to go ahead.
There is another area of cooperation – military-technical cooperation — of which little is said as a rule, but I would like to say a few words on the subject now. We will strengthen our cooperation in all areas in this sector. We have reached an agreement between our defence ministries on joint use of the airport in Gissar, and Russia will complete construction of a number of unfinished installations at this airport.
Ties between our regions are also developing well. This is a very important area of our cooperation. The third Inter-parliamentary Assembly and the forum, Russia-Tajikistan: Potential for Inter-regional Cooperation, which will take place in Dushanbe and Khodjent in October, will give an added boost to these ties.
I think that if we make more energetic efforts with our economic ties we will achieve important new results, although everything I have just listed already shows our serious plans and serious commitment to working intensively on building our future economic relations.
New horizons are also opening up in the humanitarian sphere. I remind you that it was Tajikistan’s initiative to declare this year the Year of Literature and Reading in the CIS. Much has been accomplished over this year to develop national literature, translate each other’s literary works and celebrate anniversary dates together, including the wonderful celebrations of Rudaki’s jubilee.
I note too that scholars from our countries have worked together on new Russian language textbooks specially adapted for use in the CIS, and thus in Tajikistan too of course. They will be delivered in September during the third forum of the CIS intelligentsia in Dushanbe. The winners of the CIS young poets’ competition will also be announced at this time and will be awarded diplomas and prizes. This maybe does not have the same weight as economic cooperation, but it is just as important in helping us to realise the full potential of our relations.
Tajikistan makes a big contribution to strengthening bilateral humanitarian partnership in the CIS area, and this is the truth. Russia will send a high-level delegation of members of the scientific, arts and literature communities to the third forum in Dushanbe.
Emomali Sharipovich and I have been exchanging views on the current international situation and on regional and bilateral issues for the last three days now. I want to say that these discussions have confirmed that we share common approaches.
We noted the productive outcome of the latest Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, which just took place in Dushanbe. I already said and will say again now that I sincerely congratulate our Tajikistani colleagues on organising a successful summit.
The baton has now been passed on to Russia. We will work and will definitely ensure that this area of our cooperation continues to develop.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has a key role to play in defending our borders and in combating international terrorism, drugs trafficking and other regional threats that are important and have intergovernmental significance not just for Central Asia but also for Russia and indeed for all of Europe too. We will step up coordination of our work to ensure regional stability within the framework of this grouping that has already proved its worth.
Of course, the situation in Central Asia remains a focus of our attention. This is a region in which Tajikistan has great influence and an important role to play, and a region constantly within Russia’s sphere of strategic interests. We say this openly and there is nothing to be shy about here. Our common task is to build constructive foreign policy cooperation on the issues that arise here, on a bilateral basis and through regional and international organisations.
The region really does face a great many problems. We spoke yesterday and today about the problems in neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. The joint efforts of the SCO and other countries are needed here to overcome the big problems that remain in these places. We agreed yesterday to hold a conference on Afghanistan. We have an idea and we will discuss this of course with the other members of the SCO, but we think it would be appropriate for this conference to take place here in Dushanbe for example.
There are also other important issues that have come up recently and that were also on our agenda. I am referring to the recent events in the Caucasus and Russia’s measures to restore peace.
I will not go into this now. I just want to repeat what any reasonable and honest person should understand today. Our peacekeepers acted strictly within international law in their actions to put an end to Georgia’s barbaric aggression, and we are grateful to all who have expressed their understanding and support for the position taken by Russia, which acted to protect its citizens and the civilians living in the region.
Once again, I want to say that our meeting was successful and productive.
I thank Emomali Sharipovich for the genuinely friendly spirit and the atmosphere that prevailed, and for resolving issues that have long been on the agenda but remain of relevance to our countries.
I am sure that the agreements reached will lay a good foundation for energetic all-round development of our strategic partnership.
Thank you for your attention.
Emomali Rahmon: Thank you very much.