President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Mr Putin,
I am truly happy that you and your colleagues are able to visit Kazakhstan so soon, as one of your first trips following your inauguration, given that you’ve spent the last week practically living in an airplane. I congratulate you again on your election to the post of President of Russia.
We have worked together for many years, and we have done a great deal to strengthen our relations. You have put much energy into the creation of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. Now, we are moving toward an economic union.
And thanks to our relations, the dynamics of our meetings, our economic cooperation is growing and has reached a historic peak: our trade turnover constituted almost $25 billion, which is a 32-percent increase. More than three and a half thousand joint Russian-Kazakhstani companies are working in energy and other sectors. We are moving forward together.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation between our nations, signed and ratified in November 1992. I congratulate all of us on these dates and I think that during this difficult time for the global economy, financial situation and politics, the integration of our nations within the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus is a good factor for mutual support and assistance.
We hold concurrent views on international issues. We value relations with Russia; we are proud to be strategic allies, proud that the relations between Kazakhstan and Russia serve as an example of what relations between neighbours and allies should be.
I welcome you to Kazakhstan. I hope you have a wonderful visit and that we will resolve all the issues that we want to examine.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev, I did not come here by accident. I want to tell you, first of all, that it is a real pleasure for me to be your guest, on your invitation.
Second, I feel it is my duty, because there are special relations between Russia and Kazakhstan, and now, between the three nations of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. These are relations of deep cooperation in our economic affairs, and the combination of our economic capabilities.
And third, you also just mentioned it: the level of our economic contacts is such that it requires constant attention at the highest level.
We all know – I know better than anyone – how much you, personally, have put into creating these dynamics in Russian-Kazakhstani relations and the development of our cooperation. And the result is clear: according to our data, turnover grew by more than 35 per cent – indeed, our numbers say it was 40 per cent. It is one of Russia’s highest in the post-Soviet space, with former Soviet nations. And most importantly, these relations are developing rapidly. We have very good prospects and big projects in a wide range of sectors where we are cooperating.
So this visit is no coincidence. I want to thank you for the invitation and I am certain our meeting today will promote the development of contacts between Russia and Kazakhstan and even give additional momentum to the processes of cooperation and integration.
As you know, I recently visited Belarus. The President of Belarus and I discussed our plans for integration development, bearing in mind that you are one of the founding fathers of this union. I hope that we will make progress in this area.