President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon,
We will briefly inform you about our work.
The VIII Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum has just finished. This forum was originally established as a venue for cross-border cooperation, and now has evolved into an interregional cooperation forum because it involves almost all regions in our country.
Prior to the forum, Mr Nazarbayev and I had a fruitful and multifaceted discussion on bilateral trade and economic issues, investment and the integration of our countries and economies. I believe that this meeting was extremely useful because our countries are on track to create a fundamentally new integration entity. Let me remind you that the Customs Union has been established already and next year we will join the common economic space together with the Customs Union. However, the main objective for the next few years is the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. Mr Nazarbayev and I have just discussed the stages of the integration process and the procedures that are to be followed.
“The main objective for the next few years is the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union.”
In terms of interregional cooperation, this forum has become a good tradition. It is an excellent platform for the promotion of constructive projects and initiatives. Most importantly, it is a place where practical issues can be discussed, both those on which we are making progress and those that are falling behind. Notably, this is not just work done by the Presidents or in the Presidents’ presence, but also by governors, ministers and heads of various agencies, and therefore, a wide range of issues are discussed in advance.
Today we talked about the prevention of emergency situations. Unfortunately, industrial accidents and natural disasters have no borders, and last year was very indicative in this respect. I would like to thank our Kazakhstani friends once again for coming to our aid in a number of cases involving fighting wildfires. Such international cooperation and exchange of experiences and information is our development priority. Today, very interesting initiatives were voiced during the debate from both the Russian and Kazakhstani side.
I am certain that the documents signed today will strengthen our fire and rescue cooperation, our joint control over situations such as industrial accidents and natural disasters, and will allow for more rapid decisions on the movement of people and resources required for disaster management.
We hope to increase interregional cross-border cooperation. Seventy percent of trade, which is an objective indicator, is currently made up of cross-border cooperation. That is, from all the activity between our two countries, two thirds involve contacts between the regions. That is excellent because regional cooperation means interpersonal contacts and it shows that the relationship between our countries is warm, friendly and mutually beneficial.
Next year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. Mr Nazarbayev proposed to celebrate this important event properly and the Russian side strongly supports it. We will celebrate in style.
“Natural disasters have no borders, and last year was very indicative in this respect. International co-operation, exchange of experiences and information is our development priority.”
Thank you very much.
Mr Nazarbayev, the floor is yours.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: First of all, I would like to thank Mr Medvedev, the President of Russia, for this meeting, as well as the Governor of the Astrakhan Region and the people of Astrakhan for their warm welcome, hospitality and creating excellent conditions for this meeting.
I personally attach great importance to the Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum; we work hard to prepare for it. I think this clearly shows the implementation of our Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, signed in 1992, as well as the Declaration of Eternal Friendship, Partnership and Alliance for the 21st Century. Everything is built on an economic basis: if there is healthy economic cooperation and trade, then neighbouring states wish each other security, stability, prosperity and happiness.
A particularly significant event for us last year was the establishment of the Customs Union, the most advanced integration process in the former Soviet Union. We have the CIS, EurAsEC and other associations, but there was nothing like this before. The first year of the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus has led to a 40% increase in trade, and Russia and Kazakhstan will reach a record $25 billion in trade. That is a solid level that speaks for itself and testifies to our opportunities.
Mr Medvedev has already mentioned the issues we discussed today and the documents that have been signed.
We discussed ways to further deepen our integration, the creation of common economic space – not just space but common space. Our economies are deeply integrated, which will lead necessarily to the creation of a Eurasian Union, an idea I first voiced back in 1994. I remain faithful to this principle because I think that integration has global significance today; everyone is becoming integrated. No state can survive in the modern globalised world through its own resources. If you want to develop the economy and produce more goods, you must have someone to sell them to, and it is best to sell to your close neighbours because the goods don’t need to be transported too far and that means higher profits. I know that the business communities in our countries support it very strongly.
We also talked about our future joint projects at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, on oil and gas cooperation between our two countries, deepening innovation ties between Skolkovo and the innovation technology park in Kazakhstan, which is already operating; we also reviewed defence cooperation because we are part of the CSTO and we have a common missile defence space. These issues touched on in our talks are all very important.
We have noted that Mr Medvedev and I have met for the fifth time this year although mostly our meetings concern international events and bilateral relations have begun to take a back seat, so I would like to propose to renew our decision to establish an association of culture and arts professionals of our countries and association of scientists and to make sure that our education systems are closely integrated so that young people got involved more and do not distance themselves from the historic friendship between our states, from the interdependence of our cultures and languages. Therefore, I propose that in May next year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. We must take stock and tell our people how we will continue to move forward.
I think all of these meetings are very useful and have the support of our people, our nations, as well as the Presidents, as you can see.
Once again, thank you for your attention. I wish you all the very best, happiness and prosperity.
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you.