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President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Mr President, welcome to Kazakhstan.
This is now the ninth time we are holding this interregional forum, which offers an effective platform for developing our countries’ trade and economic relations.
Today’s theme is innovation cooperation. Pavlodar is hosting a big exhibition where 600 companies from Russian and Kazakhstani regions are demonstrating their innovation achievements. Also underway is a business forum, which will see the signing today of 27 contracts worth a total of more than $2 billion.
The Customs Union and the Common Economic Space are achieving their objective of developing trade between our countries. Of course, we are still at the polishing stage and have yet to iron out all of the problems, but we are working precisely so as to complete this process.
As we agreed, I hope to meet with you in October to revise our framework agreement. The 20 years of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia have been an excellent example of how neighbours should work together. I think that we should mark these two decades at our October meeting and outline our plans and goals for the future.
I wish you welcome. The forum is ready to begin. I think we will make it a success.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr President.
Regional cooperation is a key issue. Of Russia’s 83 regions, close to 80 – 75 or 79 – have direct ties with Kazakhstan. The trade volume is increasing all the time, and we know that people always find it easier to reach agreements directly in this way, especially in neighbouring regions, because they are more familiar with each other’s possibilities and needs. This explains why interregional trade is growing steadily. These regions are always sending signals too about what we can and should do at the government level to improve conditions for cooperation, particularly in the economy, but also in humanitarian and cultural ties and contact between people. This is all extremely important, of course.
I think this Forum, which you initiated, has played a very big part precisely in our successful establishment of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space. The national agreements we concluded are now working so effectively because of the signals that we got directly from people on the ground.
I am very pleased to have this chance to meet with you, see how our colleagues are working, listen to what they have to say, and discuss our future prospects with them.