President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Dear Dmitry Anatolyevich! Dear media representatives! Ladies and gentlemen!
First of all I would like to point out once again that Russia is a strategic ally of Kazakhstan, our good neighbour, to whom we are bound by the relations defined in the treaties we have signed. Thanks to the active and constructive dialogue at all levels of cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan, our bilateral relations have developed a great deal of momentum across their entire spectrum.
In recent years our two countries have made significant progress on all fronts. This includes the strengthening of trade and economic ties, deepening integration, taking joint measures for combating new challenges, and coordinating all of our actions at both international and domestic levels and in the associations where we both participate.
Over the past six years, ever since we began to meet like this at the regional, cross-border level, trade between our countries has increased fourfold. In just the first seven months of this year it amounted to 11.6 billion dollars. So we have every opportunity to reach our target, to reach 20 billion dollars a year in trade in 2008.
Today Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev and I held a bilateral meeting during which we had our customary trusting, frank exchange of views on all issues pertaining to bilateral relations, multilateral relations, problems of the CIS and the EurAsEC (Eurasian Economic Community), as well as cultural and educational cooperation. The interests of our two states require a coordinated approach in addressing the pressing issues of our time. Kazakhstan and Russia have always had and will continue to have consistent and similar positions on key international issues. We take active measures to enhance interaction both bilaterally and within international organisations and forums. This is all the more relevant in view of the Russian Federation's increasingly important role in international relations and Kazakhstan's increasing international status. As you know, our country will be working with the OSCE Troika, and in 2010 we will assume the chair of that organisation.
We also discussed our relations in the sphere of security and stability, our efforts to combat modern challenges and threats, including in the framework of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), in the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) and the CICA (Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia). In our bilateral meetings within the framework of the SCO and the CSTO we have clearly expressed our positions on the situation in the Caucasus. They are in large measure identical and are aimed at quickly settling the conflict and formulating effective measures to prevent bloodshed in the future. We have a common understanding of the situation, which should help us to find mutually acceptable solutions.
Overall the cooperation of our countries can serve as an example of constructive cooperation and respectful relations between neighbouring states. During today's fifth annual Forum of the Border Regions of Russia and Kazakhstan we had a very productive exchange of views on the further development of cross-border cooperation in high technology. As you have just seen, we signed eight different documents. There has been a wonderful exhibition here, in which you have all been involved. And there are clearly visible signs, you can see with your own eyes how our relationship is developing, especially in this new field where we have never worked before, the latest technology, innovation and nanotechnology. I think this is an unprecedented example. We visited the exhibition and have given further directives to the governmental departments concerned.
Concurrently there has been a forum of business representatives, involving some 300 businesspeople from Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. I am confident that this will help us to find new common ground. We are undertaking major projects. One of the things that we have in mind is the $10 billion of reciprocal investment that currently exists. This is an example of genuine integration, which is possible only in conditions of trust, in conditions of familiarity, in conditions of friendship, brotherhood and the sort of relations between neighbouring states that we have. I am confident that the outcome of our meeting will further develop cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia in a spirit of mutual trust and partnership, and this will serve all other countries as a clear example of the genuine friendship and good neighbourliness that should exist.
Thank you for your attention.
President of Russia Dmitry Anatolyevich: Ladies and gentlemen!
The Forum of the Border Regions of Russia and Kazakhstan has now concluded, and I would like to say immediately that I think it has been as successful as Nursultan Abishevich has indicated.
I would like to pay special tribute to the actual organisation of the Forum, especially the comradely and very constructive atmosphere in which all the issues have been discussed, and I would simply like to say a big thank you to our Kazakhstani colleagues, because they have organised everything so well. This is a clear indication of the special atmosphere, an atmosphere of trust and friendship, that binds our countries and our peoples together.
As you know, this Forum has been taking place for five years now. It has certainly proved to be an effective platform, a platform for working on border issues and issues of interregional cooperation. And that is why we have decided in future to make these forums not just cross-border but interregional, because that is more in keeping with the spirit of today's Russian-Kazakhstani relations, the spirit of partnership and strategic engagement on all issues. And that is also why this meeting was attended by representatives not only from border regions, but also regions that are not adjacent to each other. I think that next year the number of regions participating may be even higher.
In addition, we know that the reasons for this cooperation are linked to the fact that the proportion of interregional trade in the rapidly increasing trade between Russia and Kazakhstan is already 70 per cent. The volume of trade created by the regions effectively amounts to more than two-thirds of our trade relations. This is very good. It simply shows that this is a real opportunity to increase the economic potential of Kazakhstani and Russian regions. This represents money and jobs that is right there in the regions, on the ground as they say.
We are actively extending our links in the fields of transport, industry and agriculture. Joint ventures in the two countries are working especially well, and their number can now be measured in the hundreds. But the most important thing – as I have already said today at the opening of the Forum – is that these are actual, functioning joint ventures. These are not just offices, which were created and exist on paper, but real jobs and money that in the final analysis simply mean a happier, richer existence for our peoples.
In the border regions links in the cultural and educational spheres, health care, tourism and sport are becoming increasingly substantial. There is more cooperation in dealing with various threats, of which there are unfortunately still quite a few. I mean cross-border challenges and threats such as organised crime, drug trafficking, illegal migration and smuggling.
Our countries are committed to strengthening interregional cooperation. We are taking these relations to a new level. And today for the first time, as Nursultan Abishevich has just explained in detail, relations in the sphere of innovation are on the agenda. This is our future and the competitiveness of our two countries in the coming decade will be determined by how well we work together in this area. This work is just beginning but nevertheless offers very good prospects for cooperation. I hope that the documents that have just been signed on this topic will act as an effective framework for this cooperation. And the good thing is that these are not just documents: as we saw at the exhibition, they are visible, tangible examples of this cooperation.
Once again, I would like to say that the exhibition that preceded the Forum made the same sort of powerful impression on me that it did on my colleague. It is only an example of the regions' capacities, but it looks like an exhibition in which several dozen countries have participated. This means that the prospects and potential for our cooperation are very good.
I think that the agreements that have been signed will help the development of bilateral cooperation, and I hope that in the near future we will explore new frontiers in our economic and cultural cooperation.
Nursultan Abishevich and I had a bilateral meeting that was devoted to different issues. And I am sure that the frequency with which we meet will also benefit our interests. Almost every month, and even more often, we are having yet another meeting. This means that there is a vast agenda. And if our trade is already approaching and, I hope, will reach 20 billion dollars by the end of the year, it is obvious that we will always have a lot to talk about. But this is only the economic component.
We also have important cultural projects, and there is one area in which have coordinated our efforts very closely – I am referring to our activities in the international arena. We actively participate in the integrated structures of the CIS, CSTO and the EurAsEC, and will continue to engage in these processes, because perhaps our future lies there.
I want to stress that for our part, for the Russian Federation, we very much appreciate the prevailing level of cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan in the international arena. We really do have almost identical positions on all issues on the international agenda.
Once again: we cherish our partnership with the Republic of Kazakhstan and will continue to expand our participation in the ongoing, committed Russian-Kazakhstani dialogue, which is now a dialogue between strategic partners, including those involved in interregional cooperation. And without a doubt the Forum that has just taken place, along with our bilateral contacts, constitutes an important contribution to the savings bank of our further cooperation. Thank you.